USC can’t dance forever
October 13, 2005
The biggest current question in college football is, will USC’s 27-game winning streak come to an end this year? Those of us in the minority feel yes, the Trojans will lose.
No team is ever unbeatable in college football, and there never has been a team that has won three consecutive national championships, like USC is trying to do. When you consider the great Notre Dame, Army, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Alabama teams of the past, and the fact that none of them ever won three in a row, it appears that USC should lose. More than 100 years of college football history should be too much to overcome.
On the field USC has shown some weaknesses, with the most glaring being its defense. The Trojans started the year with six new defensive starters, while injuries and youth have contributed to their shaky secondary play.
Special teams plays at times also have been disasters, with Arizona and Arizona State getting big chunks of yardage and scoring on kickoff and punt returns within the last two weeks.
The hard part will be holding back USC’s offense. It seems that there are no weaknesses there. So, if you can’t beat ’em, beat ’em up (legally, of course). What teams needs to do is hit them hard and out-physical them.
The focus must start on quarterback Matt Leinart. Here’s a guy who clearly is not used to being hit. Two weeks ago he took one on the chin, and after the game he asked the opposing team for an apology, and got it. Leinart made the smart choice by deciding to stay in school and not jump to the NFL, because there will be no apologies there.
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And what is our boy Matt doing to kill time in between games and practices at the University of Spoiled Children? He’s taking one class, ballroom dancing, and hanging around celebrities like Jessica Simpson.
Nothing against ballroom dancing, but can we say prima donna? Or should we say prima ballerina? Is Leinart getting ready for football games or the annual cotillion? Does he ask for an apology when his dancing partner steps on his foot?
You simply can’t give Leinart time to sit back in the pocket and pick you apart. When USC runs the ball, sometimes try to strip it loose. Hang onto the ball as much as possible to keep the Trojan offense off the field, and score a bunch of points while wearing down their defense. Bust USC in the mouth and send them home crying to their mommies.
Tomorrow USC has a big game at rival Notre Dame. New Fighting Irish head coach Charlie Weis doesn’t sound like the type who will pull out the rarely-used green jerseys, but still, emotions will be high.
Notre Dame had the extra bye week to heal and prepare, while USC’s Reggie Bush will be playing hurt. If the Trojans continue to commit batches of penalties and the offense struggles in the first half, like it has since offensive coordinator Norm Chow left for the NFL, we should have ourselves a ball game. If not, UCLA, California and even Fresno State have teams that can score in the 40s. No matter what, remember, it’s a long way to January and the national championship game.
• In Major League Baseball the picks have been pretty good here, with Boston being the only loser. In the Championship Series the choices are Los Angeles in 6 and Houston in 7, both being upsets.
World Series – The prediction of Houston over Los Angeles is still alive.