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 …

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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.

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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!