EVERY TIME SC goes out on the road against a Pac 12 team in a big hyped night game they fold up like a cheap suit. I knew it! I knew it the moment I saw the matchup. Stanford had their way with SC for three years running, and while Andrew Luck left, I knew they still had the line of scrimmage.
A few things bothered me about the game:
- The Arrogance of the Trojans to think they didn't need to game plan a rushing attack. Who is fool enough to think that against a physical team like Stanford that you could win by just throwing downfield?
- THEN, after seeing that Barkley had no shot at getting open receivers most of the night, not making the adjustments to either go after screen passes or give more carries to Silas Redd and other Running Backs. I know what few carries they had weren't effective, but more rushes would have at least worn down the Stanford Defensive linemen. Instead, most of the night their defense ran virtually unabated to the quarterback.
- The offensive line was pathetic, downright PATHETIC protecting Barkley last night. So much for that great offense.
- How did the Trojans defense let such unathletic rushers and receivers let a simple double move screw up the entire formation such that in one case, the ball carrier went right into the end zone? Who makes up a defense like that? --don't answer that.
What's going to anger me even more than the loss itself is the excuses. Wait until the end of the season when the Trojans miss the National Championship Round by a game. You can bet everyone from Lane Kiffin, to Barkley, to the Trojans beat writers and broadcaster will make excuses about how they were the best team in the country. I'm sorry, but we all went through this for years with Carroll's teams. Enough with the damn excuses! Stop speculating and BEAT one of these big matchup "inferior" teams one of these years. Enough!
If you don't beat your lesser Pac 12 opponent on the road in a big prime time game, then you AREN'T the best team in the country, and you never *WILL* be. PERIOD. END OF STORY. STOP WITH YOUR WHINING.
It happened with UCLA. It happened with Oregon State. It happened with Stanford (the first time, the 40 point underdog year). It happens every year. Maybe the Trojans just aren't that good.
I'm not mad that SC lost in and of itself, I'm mad that people keep falling into the trap that the Trojans are "too talented" to "go through that song and dance again." Well, they did. Now there's nothing they can do about it. I'll be very happy if the Trojans still win the Pac 12 and make the Rose Bowl this year. Even if SC makes a BCS-level bowl at all, I think the year's a success. My feeling all along is, we need to stop awarding SC National Championship caliber status until they earn it, and they haven't done that in 7 years.
I, Dave in the City, apologize to the SEC.
For years I have always held their regard with a grain of salt. I said "play a decent road game for once." I said "they stay too close to their comfort zone." I said "wait until they play one of the big teams in the other big conferences."
Now, looking back, the SEC did all of these things. They dispatched Oregon in a National Championship game. They traveled to Arizona and prevailed. They welcomed other teams, even Washington the other week, and destroyed them mercilessly.
And lastly, one thing the SEC, in particular Alabama and LSU, does is they DELIVER. Big road game, possible letdown for Alabama? They don't choke like USC. Instead they answer the challenge and beat a short-handed Arkansas 52-0. You put them in a tough environment, any SEC team, and they come up big. The road does not faze them. The incredible hype from the local media does not faze them. Lofty expectations do not faze them. They know how to p-l-a-y.
Alabama lost a bunch of starters, Alabama is due for a hangover season. Nope! They don't take excuses, they win. Boy do I love that! How refreshing is that, sports fans? Big teams who PLAY like big teams. LSU was ranked highly to begin 2011 and they finished the same way, ranked #2. All other conferences in the NCAA can learn a thing or two from the SEC.
The SEC plays big. I was wrong, they were right. Forgive me, y'all.