The Wrapup

By Adam Caparell - October 29, 2006


It was a great game to watch and dramatic as can be, but we shouldn’t be overly surprised that USC finally lost a game. Let’s face it. They’ve been playing with fire these last few weeks, just waiting to get burned. Saturday, they got burned.

The inability to force turnovers, giving it away at inopportune times, injuries, inexperience and, of course, the loss of huge stars, finally caught up with the Trojans against Washington State and now they’re going to drop – in the poll and in the BCS rankings.

They fell behind early and had to scramble to come back, had trouble –yet again – firmly establishing their running game and couldn’t make the big play when they needed to.

On the other hand you have to give a bunch of credit to John David Booty who engineered that great last drive down the field, making some huge passes to Steve Smith and Dwayne Jarrett. But they shouldn’t have put themselves in that position against Oregon State. USC is a better football team than the Beavers, but didn’t show it.

Ultimately, the Trojans couldn’t convert that two point conversion (I wasn’t a big fan of the play call, go up top and give Jarrett a better chance to make a play than a quick strike) and USC lost a Pac-10 game for the first time in 27-games.

The one thing USC fans can take solace in is that the Trojans aren’t necessarily out of the national championship picture at all. And they’re certainly in line for a BCS bowl if they win out. There’s still a very good chance that they can manage to finish second in the standings based on their schedule that features Oregon, Cal and Notre Dame down the stretch.

We now have six undefeated teams left: Ohio State, Michigan, West Virginia, Louisville, Rutgers and Boise State. And a much more wide open BCS race.

Quickhits

- As laid out nicely by Jerry Palm, Notre Dame had its outside national title hopes shot down by the Trojans loss. That makes them, despite their nice win over Navy, a loser this weekend because of the fact they’ll be facing a devalued USC team when they will need a win over the biggest of opponents possible.

- Florida just simply owns Georgia, winning for the 15th time in their last 17 meetings. The Gators defense is really what’s going to carry them to the SEC championship game – certainly not the running game, or the offense in general for that matter. Coach Urban Meyer was not happy with the Gators Saturday, who struggled and stalled in the second half, allowing Georgia to get back in the game.

But the Gators have the talent at QB and WR to get things fixed. The running game is another story and the one thing that’s going to haunt a good team like Florida down the road – everyone will say it over and over again is a, at best, shaky kicking game. Gators fans can’t have any confidence if they need a field goal late in the game. Florida’s kicking game may be the worst in the country.

- What is up with these roller coaster teams? North Carolina State, Michigan State. One week they’re on top of the world. The next, crashing horrendously to the ground with bad, bad losses. N.C. State falls to a bad, bad Virginia team and Michigan State losses at the hands of Indiana, a week after their emotional, historic, comeback win. You’d think that would have some carry over. Guess not.

- Texas A&M finally won a Big 12 game by more than six points, beating Baylor, 31-21. With the Aggies now 8-1 were not hearing too much talk about Dennis Franchione’s job security.

- I thought Georgia Tech showed something, coming back nicely from their bad loss against Clemson with a win over a game Miami team. I think if we’ve learned one lesson from watching Tech it is get Calvin Johnson involved as much as possible. He’s just too talented.

- The cruise control analogy with Ohio State seems pretty appropriate.

Best Win: Texas. The Longhorns looked like they were headed for a disappointing loss, just when things were looking up for their outside national title hopes (which they really don’t have any considering how weak their schedule is). But Colt McCoy, once again, helped rally Texas to a come from behind win in a place that’s given the Longhorns trouble before: Lubbock. And he did it in his own backyard. He just continues to impress, week after week.

Worst Loss: Nebraska. A week after their tough-luck loss to Texas at home, the Cornhuskers go out and lay an egg against Oklahoma State, arguably the worst team in the Big 12. Again, turnovers took their toll on Nebraska. But bottom line, you can't lose to the Cowboys if you're supposed to be a team on the rise nationally.

It was just Oklahoma State's fourth win in 40-plus meetings with the Cornhuskers. Just an inexcusable loss on the part of the Cornhuskers.

Took A Step Forward: Big 12 South, West Virginia/Louisville, Temple

Took A Step Back: Big 12 North, Notre Dame, Florida State

Quoteworthy:
"In six years I don't think I've ever felt this way about an offense. We've got a lot of work to do, and we're going to start immediately. In fact, we're going to start tonight to get this thing right.

"We've got a lot of issues right now, and we've got to deal with those issues."

- Florida coach Urban Meyer on his struggling offense.

AC Top 10
1. Ohio State
2. Michigan
3. West Virginia
4. Texas
5. Louisville
6. Cal
7. Auburn
8. Florida
9. Tennessee
10. Notre Dame

Posted by Adam Caparell at 01:58 AM on October 29, 2006
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