Four weeks is all we needed. To repair broken psyches with the Magic Tennis Book and to realize that maintaining an emotional peak through a “rivalry month” gauntlet of Oregon, Cal, ND, and ugla is perhaps too much to ask of a developing young team.
This is how we do it. A defensive struggle in the first half, turned into a second-half blow out by smart adjustments on offense and an aggressive Trojan defense that forced the opponent into a one-dimensional game plan. We imposed our will, and we didn't let up until a 32-18 Rose Bowl victory was secured.
Order is restored. USC brought home a BCS Rose Bowl trophy on its way to securing another ridiculously talented recruiting class and an off-season of anticipation and hype.
In many ways this win felt like the 2003 Orange Bowl championship: USC playing like the best team in the nation, fighting through the first half of what was billed as the second-best bowl match-up of the season, followed by a dominant offensive explosion in the second half. And Pete Carroll at the post-game celebration yelling to all of us: “We’re just getting started!”
Indeed, it feels like we’re just getting started … again.
Stewart Mandel of SI.com captured the new, new conventional wisdom:
Mostly, the Rose Bowl was the culmination of a season-long maturation process for the Trojans. If anything, it was more indicative of what's to come than what just passed.So, the aberration is truly over. It was more like an anomaly, really. A freak accident exposed by the pathetic performance of an ugla team (not to mention an ugla “nation”) that couldn’t handle a miracle win. But more importantly, it was proven emphatically on the first day of 2007 by the genius of a coach who knows how to lead his team through think and thin.
"We talked about that in the locker room [afterward], that this is the start of ," said Carroll. "We're grateful for the guys that helped us, the seniors that leave, but really excited about the young guys coming back to get this thing going again."
Said Carroll: "It was important for us to reconnect with who we are and what our program is all about."
WE ARE SC!