Friday, September 26, 2008
It is now the 3rd season without the USC trio of Bush, Leinart, and Lendale. In these 3 years the Trojans have continued to extremely talented. They have continued to pummel ranked opponents, but something has changed. Each year the Trojans come up limp against one of the lesser in conference opponents. In the past 3 seasons the Trojans are 10-1 against ranked opponents with all ten wins by a touchdown or more. Meanwhile they have a total of 5 losses in these 3 seasons. All 5 of these losses coming in conference with 4 coming against unranked opponents.
I just don't get it. I understand that it's easier to get up for big games like USC or the Rose Bowl but still, how can a team throttle a two time BCS title participant and then in their next game get outclassed by a 1-2 team with a loss to Stanford?
Maybe it says something about Pete Carroll and what always appears to be a laid back attitude. Maybe it says that he prepares and prepares for the big time matchups and eases up when their squad is heading to face a lesser opponent. Maybe he has a difficult time motivating his players when they aren't looking across the field at top competetion. Maybe it says something about the USC players that are recruited, maybe because they are all 5 star prospects they figure that when they line up against a worse team that they are just going to win no matter what.
Whatever the issue is, it is obvious that the crux of the post trio Trojans is the let down. They have the talent to beat and destroy any team in the country, and they do. But they have the mental toughness to lose to just about anybody, and they do. Mark down the 3rd straight season that the Trojans have the best talent in the country but throw it down the toilet.
2008 Ranked Win: #5 Ohio St. 35-3
2008 Loss: @Oregon St. 27-21
2007 Ranked Wins: @#14 Nebraska 49-31, @#24 Cal 24-17, @#6 Arizona St. 44-24, Rose Bowl #13 Illinois 49-17
2007 Losses: Stanford 24-23, @#5 Oregon 24-17
2006 Ranked Wins: #19 Nebraska 28-10, #21 Oregon 35-10, #17 Cal 23-9, #6 Notre Dame 44-24, Rose Bowl #8 Michigan 32-18
2006 Losses: @Oregon St. 33-31, @UCLA 13-9