Saturday, October 6, 2007

Water wets Trojans

This photo isn't from last night's game, but it might as well be.

As we await Kane's bogus response to the most recent debate offering, USC's damning habit of playing down to the level of their competition caught them and bit them in the ass tonight, as they lost at home to Stanford, 24-23. It's USC's first loss at the Coliseum since Sept. 29, 2001. Credit this loss to the second straight weekend of ineptitude from John David Booty. He threw four picks, two at the absolute least desirable moments in the game, on USC's final two drives. One with a seven point lead that gave Stanford the ball at the 50 and led to the game-winning touchdown, and the other on their last offensive play of the game. I only watched the last five minutes of the game, but during that time he faced some serious heat from a suddenly stalwart Cardinal defense that had given up 45 points a game previous to tonight. The O-line, normally a strength, struggled down the stretch. And for that defense to give up 45 points to Stanford...LSU would have held them scoreless.

I guess you can see where I'm going here. I know I'm supposed to give Stanford props for winning the game or whatever, but f--k that; this is about Southern Cal. I almost don't feel right criticizing USC for losing a game because seriously, they rarely ever do. But over the last three seasons, the Trojans have developed frustrating tendency of playing like a 1-3 team whenever they play a team that really is 1-3 (like, por ejemplo, tonight, against 1-3 Stanford). The last Leinart/Bush/White team started it; there were a couple of games in 2005 when they would come out in the first and fall behind, then come out in the second half, turn on the jets and win the game (best example being against Arizona State that year, when they were down 21-3 at the break then came out and outscored the Sun Devils 35-7 in the final two quaters). Of course, that was nothing for them to do; they were completely unstoppable. They probably needed to put themselves at that disadvantage in order to get themselves interested in the game. Still, though you would've liked to have seen them come right out the gate and rip the other team's heart out from the start.

Last year's team underwent a facelift and was inexperienced, but they were still extemely talented, ranked #3 in the preseason. Yet during one three game span last year, they beat WASU, Washington, and ASU by 6, 6, and 7 points, respectively. Inexcusable.

Last week, they narrowly beat an overmatched Washington club, 27-24. Tonight, the fire that seem to play everytime they face a lesser team left them with third-degree burns.

Sorry, but I don't feel even the least bit sorry for them. They got what they deserved. Perhaps Pete Carroll, as great as he is, deserves some flak for allowing his team to play without a sense of sense of urgency against an inferior team once again.

This isn't a perfect team; they lack a true No. 1 receiver, their quarterback sometimes seems unsure of himself and always rattles under adversity (there's a statement you never heard about Leinart), and their defense, hailed as potentally one of the best ever by experts this preseason, has allowed 102 points through five games (by comparison, LSU, the only defense in the land with comparable talent, has allowed only 56 through 6 games against much stiffer competition).

But it's still the most loaded in all of college football. And when they face a foe whom they deem to be formidable, they are unstoppable: In the Booty era, they have faced six top-20 teams, beating them by an average score of 35-17. Carroll's goal going forward is to implore his team to play with the same intensity against Arizona that they play with against Nebraska, or else any remaining dreams the Trojans have of making it to New Orleans this January will soon turn into pipe ones.

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