Wednesday, November 29, 2006

USC's Real Rival Reviewed

We thought we’d have more to entertain us this week, since we’re supposed to have yet another “rivalry” game this Saturday. But, since that team’s “nation” took their proverbial ball and went home already, we’re free to direct our attention elsewhere.

It’s a good thing, too. While the usual suspects showed us their predictable east coast bias, it seems as though we missed a few examples of non-biased journalism popping up in surprising places on the internets.

Now, make no mistake, the game this Saturday is important in that it’s another stop along the Trojans’ march to continued greatness. A victory will guarantee USC a spot in its third BCS Championship Game in a row and our fourth consecutive shot at a national title. We trust our man Pete Carroll to ensure the focus necessary to deliver the win. But, I digress …

One of the most surprising places we found an objective take was at NBCSports.com. You know, the network that employs ND during every home game the “Irish” play. Apparently, the annual performance reviews are in, and the boss is not happy.

Using words like “appalling” and “outclassed” to describe ND’s 44-24 loss to the Trojans, John Walters of NBCSports.com (who just might be a “writer we like”) let the “Irish” have it:
… Notre Dame is not an elite team. [...] Was it all a mirage or did we fail to see reality through the tall grass? Last October in South Bend most of these same Notre Dame players battled a more talented, more experienced Trojan team to within one play of victory. […]

The fundamental supposition of the 2006 season is that such a team, with almost everyone returning would only get better. The lasting question will be how come they failed to do so. […]

[ND’s] seniors will leave South Bend never knowing what it feels like to beat the Trojans (well, that’s not exactly true; they experienced the feeling for a few seconds last year in South Bend, until the public address announcer said, “Please leave the field. The game is not over.”)
Ouch.* Of course, we can address Walters’ “lasting question,” assuming it wasn’t rhetorical. The answer is simple: coaching.

In a separate article, also written by Walters, the job review gets harsher:
There’s a 10-2 religious-affiliated university out there with a senior quarterback whose touchdown-to-interception ratio is 5:1, who has passed for more than 10,000 yards in his career, and whose name is all over his school’s record book.

And that school is not Notre Dame.

Brigham Young senior John Beck […] is headed to the Las Vegas Bowl […]

BYU is just one of many one- or two-loss schools that must be wondering how many bowl blazers Pope Benedict XVI has in his closet. It’s time to face the choir, Domers. After two 20-plus point losses to their toughest opponents this season, and after eight consecutive bowl game defeats, the last thing that the Irish […] deserve next Sunday during the BCS Selection Show is this: The benefit of the doubt.

Instead, it’s time for Notre Dame to pull a Wayne and Garth, look directly into the blinding blazers of the Sugar (or Rose) Bowl officials, and declare, “We’re not worthy!” […]

The haters have it right this season.
Ouch.* And some people get on me for mentioned the “r” word (which I never actually do in any Displaced posts.) I guess the folks at NBC figure if they can’t get their money’s worth out of the “Irish” they don’t want anyone else to either.

Back on the USC sideline, there is a new candidate for “writer we like” status … none other than Ivan Maisel of ESPN.com. Maisel gives much props to Pete Carroll, recognizing that perhaps it’s time to include his name in the same breath as coaches of college football’s greatest dynasties:
Pete Carroll is on the verge of achieving something that has not been done in many years, if ever. USC is one game away from playing for a national championship for the fourth consecutive season. […]

USC is 47-3 over these four seasons. The three losses have been by a total of eight points. One went to overtime. The other two, by three and two points respectively, came down to the final seconds.

USC has replaced two Heisman Trophy-winning quarterbacks and a Heisman-winning tailback. USC has replaced seven first-round draft choices. And still the Trojans win.

They have won five consecutive Pacific-10 Conference championships and 33 consecutive home games. Carroll has won with every type of team. He has built a winner. He has won with veterans. And this season, he has taken a team that most experts considered too young and beat-up to win and driven it to the brink of another national championship. […]

Carroll's four consecutive seasons are every bit as convincing as the best winning periods of coaches such as Bear Bryant of Alabama, Darrell Royal of Texas or Bobby Bowden of Florida State. [ …]

It wasn't that long ago that the power in college football seemed to have permanently shifted to the portion of the Sun Belt that stretches from Miami in the southeast to College Station in the southwest. Carroll has redrawn that map. He has made USC fashionable again.
No wonder the southern inferiority complex seems to be stronger than ever.

But, back to our real rival. In a sidebar that accompanied his piece on Carroll, Maisel also had a few words for ND:
Notre Dame is an inkblot and project on it what you will. The Irish finished 10-2, which is great. They played an easy schedule, which means they're phonies. They appear headed for a BCS bowl for the second consecutive year, which is great. They haven't beaten anyone they shouldn't have beaten in Charlie Weis' two seasons, which is not good. Two years in, Weis has turned around a program that appeared mired in mediocrity. Two years in, an athletic gap between the Notre Dames and the USC/Michigans of the world remains wide. We could go on like this all day.
Again, ouch.*

It’s almost not fair, extending this beat down on our real rival. But, what else are we to do with just one game left to play?

WE ARE SC!

*I say “ouch” out of respect for ND, but inside I really mean “LOL.”
usc trojans vs. ucla bruins

1 comment:

Fucla said...

You'll love this ...

Evidently, you've got the little powder blue kids over at ugla a bit upset.

http://www.bruinsnation.com/story/2006/11/29/0138/4319

It cracks me up.

Fight On