Running For The Roses, And Nothing Else


If there’s any better proof of just how shitty, corrupt and ridiculous this little experiment called the Bowl Championship Series is right now, it’s that there are analysts out there (Mark May, Mel Kiper, looking at you) who suggest that USC still has a shot to make the BCS championship game — never mind that there has to be an absolutely epic collapse for this to happen.

And this is coming from a USC fan.

Essentially, what has to happen is that both Alabama and Florida have to lose before the SEC championship game, Texas Tech has to falter, and after the three-way clusterfuck in the Big 12 South is worked out, then you probably need Missouri to beat whomever survives in the Big 12 championship. There’s a lot of this still being a possibility given the ruckus of last year, but to count on that, if you are a fan of the Trojans, is like being at a party and saying the certified 9.5 woman at a party will want to go home with you for the night if the five guys before you with better clothes, more money, and an actual personality all fail miserably — and even then there’s not guarantee, because we haven’t even talked about Oregon State.

(I know that was a strain of an analogy. I’m sure you have a personality. Really, you do.)

Oregon State going through the gauntlet of California, Arizona, and Oregon to finish the season is doable. Frankly, if the Bears don’t pull it off, the Beavers will be going to the Rose Bowl. So the Trojans need obvious help, and they’re not doing themselves any particular favors with their offense. The defense is the nation’s best, legitimately dangerous (if a bit too liberal with incurring penalty flags), but they’re carrying an offense that can’t get out of its own way right now.  The mediocrities of Arizona and Cal should be fertile ground for at least 24-30 points. Not every game can be a time to tee off on U-Dub or Wazzu, but ESPN’s Joe Schad had a report from linebacker Brian Cushing teeing off on the offense for “not playing as a team,” which is more or less what’s been visible on tape.

In the past few years, it’s been rare that you could say a USC offensive performance was boring.  They may have run up the score in blowouts, but you couldn’t say it wasn’t entertaining, seeing the individual talent on display. Now, the pro-style offense has somehow regressed to absolutely dull drives — mostly in the “rush, incomplete, pass to get a third down, pass on first, rush, rush, punt” variety. It’s not as bad as three and out, but a bit more frustrating.

Despite unease about Mark “Vinnie Chase” Sanchez, I’m not putting this all on him. The only reliable receiver he appears to have who can get open is Damian Williams and Joe McKnight hasn’t become the revelation everyone was waiting on yet. But to see this team in BCS contention?  No discussing it until it’s actually plausible, please.


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