So apparently USC isn't all that infallible. So how bad exactly does this make A ohio state university? I kid. But really, how good does this make Penn State look right now? They're a team I've been keeping an eye on anyway – now I'll be sure to.
Along those same lines, I need to get a quick rant in before we move to discussion of a real football conference. I don't necessarily subscribe to the "Carroll can't win without Norm Chow" theory. And honestly, I've always thought Sarkisian was a pretty good OC, and a damn good QB coach. But that play calling last night was Nick Quartaroesque. Just atrocious. I think we'd all accept the notion that USC has as good or better athletes than possibly anyone in the country. Without a doubt they'd be in the discussion. In all likelihood, Oregon State has a couple as well. But given that the safety who made the game-sealing INT was a 5'10" 205 pound Caucasian that wasn't exactly blazing, I think it's safe to assume that USC had the advantage.
Now, USC doesn't run a spread offense and that's obviously worked just fine for them. But since they dug themselves a 21-0 hole and couldn't really stop a 5'6" guy from running straight up the middle, they couldn't necessarily rely on Stafon Johnson running for 7 per carry (which he was doing). Granted, if Joe McKnight had either brought along his brain or stayed behind altogether, the Trojans probably win semi-handily. But since that wasn't the case, why in the shit would they not try to get their receivers in space?! It may be hard to believe for those that only saw the late INT (or even that whole drive), but despite taking himself out of Heisman contention, Sanchez was looking pretty damn good. Clearly he's no Hot Toddy and likely not in the top half of Big XII QBs (why again doesn't everyone run the spread?), but as evidenced nearly every time they went down the field, he's plenty capable of getting his damn good receivers the ball.
Instead, on 3rd and 5 with 10 minutes left and only trailing by a TD, they tried a 3 yard out to their tight end. You serious, Clark? Then, on 3rd and 20 with 6 minutes left they try a little screen to Joe McKnight. He's an incredible athlete and sure, anything can happen, but you really thought that was your best chance to pick up 20 yards? I'd even agree with the call if they were playing it as four down territory. I mean, he did pick up 13 yards, allowing for a very manageable 4th and 7. I've gone on much longer than I intended, but it's worth noting that per catch the USC receivers averaged nearly 13 yards (no long flukes) and they were even averaging 8 per attempt. I don't know, to me, it seems like they may have had the upper hand here.
Since I ranted a bit longer than anticipated, I'm going to have to make this its own post and come back with a Big XII preview shortly. Besides, our conference doesn't deserve to be lumped in with the Pac 10. I'm ashamed I even considered the idea.