Weekly Musings – Arizona State Edition and the Bye Week After

What an incredible couple of weekends of college football, not so much because of incredible endings to games but more because of big surprises in games. From a USC standpoint I don’t see how Trojans could be anything but both thrilled and shocked at how well things went in the AZ desert last Saturday night. The Utah whooping of Oregon in Eugene last week was certainly a surprise, but in a lot of ways I am more shocked at how unimpressive Oregon looked in their week-after game against Colorado (at least they won?). Michigan pummeling BYU had to be a surprise. The ending to the TCU/Texas Tech game was all kinds of things last week.  And then this week I think most people are surprised at how easily Alabama handled Georgia; certainly the Ohio State struggles against really bad teams are surprising a lot of people; and now the Pac-12 south has gone crazy.   

Let’s run around the country first and then discuss all things Troy …


Gary Patterson is hysterical. Not only was TCU’s defense atrocious, and not only did they win the game in the most freakishly bizarre and fortunate of ways, but he dissected reporters in the press conference afterwards, a level of venom and disgust I (a) Found to be awesome, and (b) Have no idea where it came from. I think he is a good coach, but I do laugh when I hear Trojan fans say that USC needs a tough defensive minded coach, and then also needs Gary Patterson. Texas Tech scored nearly 60 points. Texas Tech.

Speaking of those coaches USC fans were clamoring for, Texas loses a game by a missed PAT last week and loses this week by a fumbled punt. They may not win five games this year. A humiliating loss at the hands of Texas Tech this week.  And some USC fans were screaming for Charlie Strong to be our coach.  “Well it takes time”.  Yes, it does.  He’s a good coach.  Try telling that “it takes time” mantra to the USC community.  LOL.

Anyone want to point out how Chris Petersen and Washington are doing?

Utah going into Oregon and mutilating the Ducks was perhaps the biggest shock of last weekend. It is the symbolic ending to the Duck Dynasty, as Mariota becomes the first quarterback of their post-Carroll run to obviously have really, really mattered. Oregon survived the loss of a bunch of QB’s over the years, but Mariota Is the one they really flourished under. As for the coach, mark my words, his days are numbered. I’ve heard Oregon has one single donor who isn’t going to stand for this.

Carroll took care of business with Oregon. When he left they found a strut. The rest of the conference became afraid of them. That seems to me to be changing. The rest of the conference may not be better than them yet, but Utah coming into Eugene and doing this tells you all you need to know about how afraid people are.  But Colorado played last night with no fear of them either.  Colorado.

Not sure what to make of that Michigan whooping of BYU. It isn’t like BYU went out and fumbled all over the place to make it look bad; Michigan really punched them in the mouth. There are a few scenarios here: Either Michigan is better than we thought or at least getting better; or BYU is worse than we thought, which makes me think differently about UCLA’s one-point win in the Rose Bowl last week; or Michigan just played a big game and/or BYU played a clunker. I actually think it may be all three.

UCLA looked strong last week and Arizona looked atrocious. The same can be said for USC and Arizona State. I doubt we will see a ranked team in Arizona the rest of the year.  But then last night Arizona looked worse or as bad against Stanford.  So they’re done.   UCLA’s loss IN THE ROSE BOWL to Arizona State, with all 16,000 of the Bruin home game fans or whatever it is you call that, was a real shock to most of college football.  It was not a shock to those who habve followed Jim Mora, who has not beaten a great team and often lost to mediocre teams since arriving at UCLA.  He is popular because he has done the one and only thing anyone at UCLA cares about – he has beaten USC.  On Tuesday or Wednesday of next week when Bruins find out UCLA lost this weekend they will not so much as pause.  They care about one game, period.  Mediocrity isn’t something to be loathed.

I remain of the opinion that Alabama is very much alive and well in the playoff hunt, though the Ole Miss ugly loss to Florida is bizarre.  

They already have printed the LSU running back’s name on the Heisman.


So about my Trojans … In a sense it worked out well that business didn’t allow me to complete last week’s musings on the normal schedule, because we now have perhaps a different perspective on our thumping of ASU (with what ASU did to UCLA in the Rose Bowl).  I think USC looked good, but still vulnerable on defense.  AND I think ASU blew themselves up with a couple nightmarish turnovers.  So all things considered, USC and the coaches deserve kudos for the comeback performance after the awful defensive effort against Stanford, AND we have to worry a bit about how “lucky” we got with ASU’s misfortunes.  Pretty objective,. huh?  The ASU fans took the loss in stride, which is to say they were blacked out at a party doing upside down keg stands or something like that before, during, and after the game.  The beauty of partying 24 hours per day, 365 days per year, is that you are never bummed after a football loss.  I digress.
One thing I wish more were talking about is the ability to change games that Adoree Jackson gives us on special teams.  I am completely positive he has #5 playmaking abilities, and I am equally convinced we will see multiple games where the scoreboard and especially field position are altered by what he does in return situations.  He is extremely special.

The offensive weapons, the steadiness of Cody, and the seasoning of the O-line (more in run blocking than pass protection), leave me with little fear about our offense.  The playcalling has been stellar too.  Frankly I just want to see a string of good games from our defense to feel better about this season.  October’s schedule leaves little room for experimentation.

I can’t get excited for the Notre Dame game because we have to take care of business against Washington first.

It is wide open in the Pac-12 south and wide open around the country.  Give it until November 1 to start getting all your forecasts wrong; for now they’ll be really, really wrong.

If you haven’t loved the last two weekends of college football, you weren’t breathing.

Fight on Trojans!

Weekly Musings – Stanford Debacle Edition

I like writing these musings at 4:00 in the morning on Monday rather than at the crack of dawn on Sunday, the morning after the game, because it gives me a little time to let some of the emotion out and some more reflection in (note to many chat room participants: consider the same). I am not less concerned this morning than I was yesterday, but I am less antagonistic. The reality is that it was a bad weekend for Trojans, and a really disruptive week around the country as well. Let’s start there and come back to the men of Troy …

– Ohio State was, in my opinion, going to lose their #1 ranking after a nail-biting, barely held-on win over Northern Illinois (one touchdown and easily could’ve gone to Overtime). However, the #2 team in the country LOSING their game took that off the table. The Alabama loss does nothing to take them out of playoff contention – nothing. The SEC champ will be in the playoff whether they have 1, 2, or even 3 losses (MAYBE not 3), and we all know it.

– But Alabama does have problems. Not only is their Quarterback situation problematic, but a little team in Oxford, Mississippi seems to own them. In Tuscaloosa? Ouch. For those who missed the game, there was one of the truly bizarre and incredible plays I have ever seen worth watching here

– I didn’t see the Ohio State game but that is truly a weird deal that took place there. Anything can happen every single week.

– Auburn will not be back in the top 25 all year

– I am skeptical that Michigan State is the #2 or #3 team in the country but it would make for the first Big 10 game that anyone cares about since the 1970’s

– The other USC had a pretty tough weekend too. Not looking pretty in Columbia. Is it time for Spurrier to go?

Let’s talk about my USC now. At the end of the day, one forced punt to start the first half and one to start the second half, and NO OTHER PUNTS FOR THE STANFORD OFFENSE THE ENTIRE GAME, is simply inexcusable. This was a Stanford team that two weeks ago could not get a first down against Northwestern. It was a pitiful defense effort, and one that I am very skeptical is going to be fixed any time soon. This defense has Sua Cravens, and then it has very few others capable of making plays, containing the edge, putting pressure on the quarterback, or handling straight man assignments. And this has been the case for several years now … I haven’t paid attention to the Sark haters since the game so I do not know what their chorus is saying, but this was a unique loss for USC since Sark arrived in this sense: I really doubt anyone is blaming this on clock management, play calling, or some particular aspect of game time coaching. This was just a BAD defense that got exposed by what had been a BAD offense (but on Saturday looked like the Patriots). It was all my worst nightmares come true: A USC team that played too junior high teams at home to start the season, then gave up a game in the Coliseum to start conference play against a team that has absolutely no business beating the talent of our Trojan offense. I still believe this offense will average 40 points per game, but this defense has no chance – none – of beating the stalwarts of the Pac12 conference if they are as bad as they looked on Saturday. There was poor talent, poor execution, and poor adjustments, but there also was poor effort. Poor discipline. Insane penalties. And the most unforgivable thing in college football:

That gnawing sensation that whatever the other team does on offense on either first down or second down is IRRELVANT, because you known darn well they will convert on 3rd down. It is the defining hallmark of a team that will lose 3 games if they’re lucky and 5 games more realistically – a team that cannot get a stop on a third down to save their lives. Stanford converted 67% of third downs, everyone of which mattered, while USC converted 40% of theirs, of which every failure mattered.

I like our offense. I like the play-calling. I like the establishment of the run game. I like the minimal horizontal passing that goes on. I like the speed of the tailbacks. I love finding JuJu in space. I love the way we get receivers the ball to make plays near the goal line. But we can’t win if we give up that many yards and that many points. And we can’t win if we have the ball 30% of the time. Penalties, Time of possession. Third downs. Nothing else needs to be said.

Can this season be salvaged? Of course. Can we still have a great and even phenomenal year with one or two losses. Certainly. But will we end up with just one or two losses? You tell me. Something has happened where the front seven of USC’s defense cannot rush a quarterback, cannot contain an edge, and where the secondary cannot make a play. I don’t believe we’ve forced a turnover since 2008. Is it cultural? Perhaps. But it needs to get better, or we are in for a long year.

I imagine the negative idiots are not offering objective commentary right now so much as celebrating a loss for the coach they hate, who happens to coach the team they pretend to love. I want nothing more than for Sark and this coaching staff to win every game. But what the men of Troy need to remember is that run-first offenses make pass-happy offenses very productive, and that defenses win championships. The first part we are finally getting. The second part is what our season will be made by, or broken by.

Weekly Musings – Idaho Edition and More

These are the tougher weeks to write musings, in a lot of ways harder than the weeks USC has a bye. We played a full game – four quarters worth – and there are pages of stats, highlights, and points to show for it. And yet, no rational person can believe we saw anything of substance in our Trojan team the other night. There was really no aspect of the game in which Idaho wasn’t almost cartoonishly outmatched. And yet perhaps the fact that USC blew a woefully non-competitive team out of the water does say something about the preparedness and maturity of this team relative to a lengthy list of other teams around the country … More on that later. Off we go.

Yes, USC blew Idaho out of the water and completed a two-week run of Sun Belt teams that had no business being on our schedule. I realize SEC teams have been doing this kind of thing for years (including with !-AA teams, or FCS or whatever you want to call them), and I also realize that we have Arizona State, Notre Dame, and Oregon ON THE ROAD this year, and don’t need to make the schedule any more painful than it already is. However, there are unranked teams, and then there are high school teams. And I suspect Idaho would lose to a couple premier high school teams in California, and perhaps badly. All things considered, it is going to be September 19 before we really get to see our actual Trojans play. Now we saw Cody’s arm a bit Saturday (I was laughing at those who said “he will never throw an accurate long ball” last week as he dropped dime after dime downfield), and we certainly saw the playmaking of Adoree Jackson in all its highlight reel luster. I most enjoyed seeing the spurts out of Tre Madden and Justin Davis that I believe will represent the make-or-break of our offense this year. But no, the line, the grit, the speed, the talent, the play-calling, the overall package – none of it can be evaluated in any meaningful way. This Saturday we not only get conference-opening action, but Stanford is a real team – one that is reverting to the mean of Stanford football, but a legit opponent. I can’t wait.

Around the country, I would just like to say wow – absolutely wow – to this stat: Oklahoma beat their first ranked opponent at any level since 2013 on Saturday. Oklahoma. The SEC had the kind of weekend this week that the Pac-12 had the week before (and I couldn’t care less about either conference, including the one USC plays in) … Arkansas (ranked #18) lost to Toledo AT HOME, Tennessee gave up a SEVENTEEN POINT LATE LEAD at home, and worst of all Auburn basically needed fluke after fluke to not lose to JACKSONVILLE STATE also AT HOME. Yes, they got an OT win, but was it really a “win”? This was an ugly week. South Carolina lost to Kentucky, and it looks like my beloved Gamecocks (USC east) may be headed for a rebuilding year.

One game few are talking about that all should be talking about is ASU vs. Cal Poly. I remain unclear if this Cal Poly team is in Pomona or San Luis Obispo or elsewhere and I live in the southland, and I had no idea that any Cal Poly school had a football team. I believe the final score ended up being two touchdowns wide but with just minutes left in the game ASU was tied to Cal Poly AT ASU. Arizona State may be as good as advertised, but a first week loss and a nail-biter with a junior high team is not saying so.

Oregon’s quarterback missed some throws in a bad way Saturday night but he made some good throws too. Oregon went into a tough road game and competed, so while they are clearly a notch or four down from last year, they are still highly competitive and the hands on favorite for the Pac-12 north.

My guess is that this is all just same as it ever was … That we need the entire month of September to separate pretenders from contenders, and that some teams need to shake off early season rust and others need to establish themselves. We know Ohio State and Alabama are in the top tier. We’ll see about the various Texas schools and many more. The Notre Dame QB loss may not have the impact on them some fear. When all is said and done, it’s going to be a great year.

So the school with an atheist chaplain comes into USC this weekend, site of several high profile games in recent years. It is a big test for our defensive front seven and it is a test of my theory that Kevin Hogan is not a QB up for the task of winning a big game. I have been wrong before. By wrong, I used to think Andrew Luck would WIN some big games. I was wrong on that, and I could certainly be wrong about Hogan losing his.

The greatest sport in the history of the world is about to hit its stride. Bye bye Arkansas State (who competed hard with Missouri over the weekend and could have beaten the highly ranked SEC team), and bye bye Idaho. Bring on the farm!

Weekly Musings: The Season Opener, Sark, and Expectations for a New Year

The January through May season each year is an intensely busy one for me with work (never more so than this last year). June through August is what I called “summer” when I was younger, but I now call “misery”, meaning, the world revolves around the kids, work is still crazy busy, AND college football is within visual range, but not quite touchable. Then, September arrives, and life is as it should be again. I woke up Saturday morning for College Gameday and just had an incredible peace and happiness take over me. Indeed, September through the end of the year is the greatest calendar segment of the year, and no doubt college football is behind so much of that. And when I say college football, I do mean the greatness of the sport at-large, and the pageantry of the entire college football culture, BUT I primarily mean USC football – the one passion I have held on to from my very early years all the way through age current, despite the busyness of work and family. The fight on mantra remains undiluted in its prioritization in my life.

USC football ended last year with a whooping of Notre Dame in the Coliseum and then carried into an impressive victory over Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl. And yet, the UCLA loss along the those unforgivable last second losses to Arizona State and Utah left a taste in our mouths of dissatisfaction. We had talent, we had a solid QB returning, but could this coaching staff get these young players in a position to close out games? That, to me, has been the nagging off season question – are we ready to win those games that we were last year simply not ready to win? The first major post-bowl game milestone of the season was national signing day, the second year in a row where even Sark’s biggest supporters were blown away at how strongly he closed. We took away the nation’s strongest recruiting class and added to a roster of young, incredible talent. Expectations notched up a little higher …

The Salute to Troy/Sark event will only get a few sentences of attention here. I want Sark to succeed at USC and have written off as pitifully immature and uninformed the group of chat board residents who have dedicated their lives to bashing him (and Pat Haden, for that matter). To see this kind of episode take place was beyond regrettable, and I frankly could barely believe it. I don’t drink any more, and I am sure not a single one of those who have gone after Sark in recent weeks have ever themselves had an embarrassing incident which was drinking-related. BUT, regardless of what hypocritical chat board folks do or do not do, Sark SHOULD be held to a higher standard, and the whole episode was just unbelievable. I, for one, remember being at a Salute to Troy in 2002 when Ed Orgeron got up on stage and dropped a few bombs (in fairness, no F words, but several expletives) and having a couple parents confront him off stage after the fact (I was seven feet away). The incident never made the press, and Ed wasn’t slurring, but my point is this: Anyone who believes this thing was NOT blown out of proportion is living in an alternative universe. It never should have happened; it was deeply regrettable; but it was a 3 on a scale of 1-10 that became a 65. Sark’s leash got a tad shorter because of this, but frankly I think an 8=4 season or worse and his leash was already short; a 10-2 season or better with the rival games being in the win column and he could probably do tequila shots at a press conference and no one would care. Sark’s marriage and every other aspect of recent scrutiny is none of my business, and while I wish him nothing but the best as a person, it is outside my domain of interest. What I want for Sark is to lead the football team to greatness, and to represent the world’s greatest university with dignity and distinction. Let’s pray this episode gets deeply behind us, and that he becomes acutely aware of the bulls-eye placed on his back by a media and envious culture that hates the Fight On mantra that has defined USC for decade after decade. Move on, and fight on.

There isn’t a lot of analysis to offer after the Arkansas State game for the simple reason that we cannot tell much against opponents that are that badly outmatched. I don’t want to overreact to the occasional poor pass protection, and I don’t want to over-celebrate the great playmaking skills we saw from our young freshmen. The few negatives were a couple deep balls Kessler missed and the excessive times Kessler was scrambling (more so in the first half). On the positive front, the defense was swarming, the secondary looked deep and talented (even without Adoree Jackson), and the true freshmen at tailback, receiver, etc. all look phenomenal. I hate these kinds of games – where injuries are a possibility, a win does nothing at all, and a bad performance can be humiliating. We spent so many years filling up our non-conference schedule with Big-12 champions, SEC champions, Big-10 champions, and other highly ranked and highly regarded notables, that to now have these Arkansas States and Idahos feels disappointing. I understand no one from the SEC will dare play us, and I know we already have away games with Notre Dame, Oregon, and Arizona State this year. But all things considered, these games do little to tell us about our team, and just don’t create the same enthusiasm we grew accustomed to. With that said, if a 2015 opener against Arkansas State and a 55-6 win is a cakewalk, I don’t know what that says about a 2005 opener against the SEC-West champion ARKANSAS (the actual Arkansas) and a 70-17 score. In other words, if you ask me, Arkansas State did better than the last team from their state to come into our house. And Arkansas State isn’t in the SEC. Just sayin’ …

My questions on the year include all of the following … (1) Are we able to finish out games, particularly on the defensive side of the ball where stops have been elusive when they have been most needed? Who in that linebacking corps and in that secondary will keep those chains from moving when we need to finish? (2) We know our offensive line is experienced and seasoned, but are they good? I feel more confident on the run blocking side but have concerns about pass protection. No doubt the former makes the latter much easier. (3) Will we be a run-first football team? I have NEVER seen an effective USC passing game that was not first enabled by a lethal USC running game, and I do not believe I will now either. The loss of Buck but return of Tre Madden should be a breakeven, but our ability to get those tailbacks in the open field and achieve that sensation of running down hill will be pivotal. (4) Health. Will the injury gods smile upon us? Depth is still limited in our first year off of the most egregious and immoral sanctions in NCAA history, and there is a sense in which health may very well determine the final record.

I allude to those pitiful sanctions because they remain the exponent on my desire to see USC return to its proper place in the universe. The NCAA was unable tm destroy us. We came out of sanctions with an overwhelmingly positive record and a superior win-loss record than our rivals had (a stat that should bring shame and embarrassment to said rivals). We experienced great disappointment along the way (the 2012 season, the UCLA losses, the ASU hail mary), but we were hit exponentially harder than say, Alabama, in the early 2000’s, and came out of it exponentially better. Indisputable facts. I remain of the opinion that at some point some rather raging cosmic justice is coming our way, and I am just as fine with it being this year as any other year. These young players will not and should not play with the chip on their shoulder coming from the arch-villain who is Paul Dee or Mark Emmert etc. The world who chooses to see now sees how unjust the sanctions were, and the world that doesn’t choose to see such is asking you to pay for their education if you catch my drift. What Trojans do when they are left for dead is get up and punch someone in the mouth. To that end, we play.

Around the country this week, a few comments and I’ll wrap it up …

– The Stanford game is perhaps the biggest mystery. Is Northwestern going to prove to be that good? I doubt it, but maybe. But what we saw was not an incredible Northwestern team – it was a Stanford team that literally could not get a first down, could not complete a pass, could not establish even a remotely mediocre offense. I feel bad for Kevin Hogan because he seems like a very good young man and he lost his father this off season to a tragic fight with cancer, but the team seems to me to be very much “regressing to the mean” that is Stanford football, to borrow from @lostangeles. They had a four-standard deviation event for a couple years with Luck and Harbaugh and have not returned to their proper role in the universe. I will admit it if I am wrong, but I do not think I am.

– There was not enough talk about Oregon giving up 42 points to Eastern Washington, all of which took place with the game still competitive and with Oregon’s first string in …

– I didn’t see Alabama’s game but I imagine the ESPN world is licking their chops at what they see as an inevitable Urban Meyer vs. Nick Saban match-up … The best thing about a Ohio State/Alabama gane every year? ONE of them WILL LOSE.

– Pitiful weekend for the Pac-12, and who cares. I remain utterly mystified by those in my own Trojan family who feel some love or loyalty to a “conference” rather than to our own selves. This is a conference that team by team by team rushes the field when they beat us, and that somehow we are supposed to feel some fraternal love for. Washington State’s loss to Portland State is one of the low points in Washington State history (think about that sentence); Arizona State either ran into the most underrated team in the country in Texas A&M or they were highly overrated themselves. We’ll give it a couple more games to evaluate further but I’m not feeling great about the conference as a whole.

– Incredible game in Nebraska with BYU and that vaunted hail mary ending. Not sure if college football teams are spending enough time preparing for a hail mary defense, or rather, if they are spending ANY time on it. Ay yi yi.

Okay, I will leave it there for the week. Bring on the Vandals, and thank God it’s September. The greatest time of the year is here, and I feel great.

Weekly Musings – Cal Edition, UCLA Preview, and Much More

This has actually turned into a really great college football season, and that is not just because of the vastly superior system this season is using to name a title (even as it still needs improvement). It is quite clear that there is some decent parity in college football, and basic principles of all other sports are being forced to bear out in college football (“I know Florida State won but I just plain don’t think they’re REALLY one of the best teams”). That statement would not be embraced or mocked in any other sport, because everyone would just know that we will find out eventually. If FSU is lucky to have beaten Miami, Notre Dame, etc., surely they would be exposed in the postseason against Alabama, Oregon, etc., and it wouldn’t matter what our subjective opinions might be (and I do believe both Alabama and Oregon can and likely will beat Florida State, but I’m just using them as an example right now). If we think a team is better than they have played, the postseason solves it objectively. The inverse is equally true. This year we have one, though it doesn’t have enough teams. Eight is the number, not four. But I’ll take four over that old BCS system which forced us to endure inane comments from people who should have known better.

With that said, the top four teams are going to be tough to define. The wheels are off Auburn’s bus and LSU’s bus in a big way. Mississippi State will need to win out to stay in top four consideration. Frankly, they looked okay, but not really top four (certainly not #1) against Alabama. I do believe Alabama MIGHT prove to be the best in the pack, but I understand the skepticism around their barely having survived LSU and Arkansas (and that loss to Ole Miss). Ohio State is trying to make an argument, but everyone knows their conference is a laughingstock. Ohio State might want to count it a blessing that they’re probably going to be spared a game against Oregon in the postseason, if you know what I mean. I like this parity. I like the teams all in consideration. And I think this will be a very interesting 3 weeks of football.

The biggest flops of the year have to include Stanford and Auburn and now Notre Dame. I would’ve had Arizona State in the biggest upside surprises of the year until that devastating (and fantastic) loss to Oregon State the other night. UCLA cannot be called a flop this year because not a single person in their fan base ever thought they were really a top 5 team, nor did they ever care about anything other than the game coming up this Saturday. More on that below. It’s just been a surprising season in a lot of ways and an awesome one at that.

Sark and my beloved Trojans have a chance to really redeem what has had some extremely disappointing moments this season by running the table against their two rivals, possibly putting them in the Pac-12 championship game (would need Arizona to beat ASU), and ending at 9-3 with two losses coming from freak end of game tragedies (I recognize there are also two wins you could argue got handed to us as well, so it is what it is). I do not know if we will sweep UCLA and Notre Dame, but I know we can. UCLA barely beat Cal (it never should have happened), went double OT with Colorado, the worst team in football, and has struggled all year with bad football teams. On the other hand they have a good running QB, beat USC confidently last year, and play Troy in the Rose Bowl. UCLA never cares about anything but beating USC, the school which provides them all existential meaning. I believe they will have a tough time stopping the USC passing game, especially if USC successfully gets Buck Allen running. I also think our Defensive line has a chance to put a lot of pressure on Hundley as a ball thrower. Our linebackers, though, are vulnerable with Hundley as a ball runner, and our secondary is just plain vulnerable period. Sark needs this win to silence his critics (though his critics are being increasingly marginalized every week by the woeful performance of the other people they said were the saviors of the program). The jury is out on Sark, but nothing stacks votes like a win over your rivals.

I will not talk about the Notre Dame game until the UCLA game is behind us. I don’t look ahead.

Speaking of which, the Cal game was a lot of fun. Eleven wins in a row over a legitimate program is hard to do. Cal is not good, but they are not basement dwelling bad either. Nelson Agholar put in a beastly clinic in the Coliseum Thursday night, and I believe Adoree Jackson is really coming into his own as well. I believe Cody and the offense become categorically different when we see Buck Allen running downhill (bold claim, eh?), and if we can punch UCLA in the mouth on the line of scrimmage we will win this game. We cannot turn the ball over. AND, we MUST, MUST, MUST limit the turnovers. The referees will be good for a minimum of 10 points (net) for UCLA. We need to win by 11.

It is going to be a war in the Rose Bowl. May the best team win. And may the men and women of Troy dig deep into the Fight On spirit that frankly leaves Bruins not knowing what to do. They have never seen anything like it. Fight on, indeed.