The Wrapup

By Adam Caparell - November 26, 2006


There was a reason why USC came in as an 8.5 point favorite Saturday. And they showed it, in a big way, against the Irish. Simply put: USC showed that it's in a different class than Notre Dame, one that's right next to a team from Columbus, Ohio.

What we saw was a pretty impressive Trojans squad Saturday night. USC was able to move the ball against ND’s defense, they showed their speed and blew the Irish right out of the national title picture (whatever slim hopes they had entering the game) with a performance that certainly got a lot of people's attention. USC came out of the game and scored on its first three possessions, putting Notre Dame in a hole early, and basically didn't look back after.

Brady Quinn wasn’t necessarily held in check, but he didn’t hurt the Trojans, even though he ran for over 70 yards on the night. No Heisman for Brady. He was off his game passing - his numbers weren't very good, completion percentage wise - but he had a lot of drops by his receivers as well.

Dwayne Jarrett had one heck of a night, catching three TDs and seemingly being involved in all the big plays for the Trojans.

If this doesn’t propel USC past Michigan in the BCS rankings released later today, then we need a Congressional investigation. Immediately.

The Trojans showed they are the clear No. 2 in the nation. I’d make the argument that Michigan is just as talented and probably just as good as USC, but the Trojans are the team that should be playing Ohio State Jan. 8, as long as they win next week.

Their more than worthy of being there, they’ve come back from that narrow loss to Oregon State, almost a month ago now, and they’re playing great, great football down the stretch of the season. This game should have done the trick in terms of proving to everyone that USC belongs in Glendale over Michigan.

Quick Hits
After Rutgers trouncing of lowly Syracuse, Scarlet Knights coach Greg Schiano said he was happy at Rutgers, but would not definitely say he was staying in New Jersey when asked by reporters.

With Larry Coker’s firing Friday and the Miami position wide open, Schiano is arguably the leading candidate to fill the vacant spot.

One reason why he should be considered the leader: Miami preside Donna Shalala said she wanted someone who was an excellent recruiter, one who would create meaningful ties with the surrounding community. Well, that’s Schiano in a nutshell. He’s built a great network IN South Florida over the years and he's well respected and thought of highly by many.

And also, Miami is going to pay a lot of money, much more money than Schiano is earning in Piscataway right now. Schiano stands to earn a little over/under $1 million, depending on what you read and who you trust. Miami will reportedly start around $2 million and proceed from there.

Reasons why Schiano won’t go: he’s building a house right by Rutgers Stadium and he’s from Jersey. Rutgers showed him a lot of loyalty when he got off to a rough start in his first few years, giving him an extension when he hadn’t won more than three games in a season. He’s also a Penn State guy, growing up a huge fan and spent time under Joe Paterno. He could be waiting for Paterno to step aside, although Paterno has said that he wants someone internally to take over when he’s out of Happy Valley. Finally, Miami isn’t the most attractive position in the world, especially with their aging and outdated facilities. Shalala said they’re going to spend a ton of money upgrading them. Believe it or not – Rutgers has much better facilities and equipment than Miami right now.

- Rice is going bowling. The Owls have earned their first bowl bid since 1961 with a win over SMU. By finishing the season 7-5, Rice is assured of receiving one of Conference USA’s five bowl slots How about Todd Graham as a candidate for coach of the year after his team started 1-4?

The team also had to deal with the death of freshman CB Dale Lloyd before their game against Army in September. The Owls went to West Point and won their first game and haven’t looked back since. They’re only loss after Army came against Tulane in the Superdome. Then Rice went of a tear, beating some of C-USA’s better teams like UCF, UTEP, Tulsa and East Carolina. They're getting no attention, but deserve a lot of credit.

- Looks as if Boise will be the second non-BCS school to crash the party after the Broncos beat up Nevada. Boise State isn’t a top 10 team, per se, but they’ve keep winning and you have to reward teams for winning. They’re going to finish in the Top 12 of the BCS rankings – they were No. 11 in last week’s – barring something unforeseen. But one thing a Boise State BCS appearance will give us is another chance to watch Ian Johnson run the ball, and probably against a solid defense in Oklahoma – the Broncos’ likely opponent in the Fiesta Bowl if the Sooners take care of business against Nebraska next weekend in Kansas City.

There are a number of better teams than Boise State, who would garner more headlines and more pub, who aren’t going to be playing in the BCS, but it’s always fun to see some new blood in these games and get a chance to watch an explosive offense operate against one of the real big boys.

- Where was this Georgia team in the middle of the season? The past two games they beat Auburn and Georgia Tech, show their defensive worth and batter around two QBs. Reggie Ball had another bad game in a big spot.

Best Win: Oklahoma. The Sooners go from a New Year’s Day bowl or worse to a possible BCS bowl thanks to Texas A&M’s win over Texas Friday. They took advantage of the golden opportunity in front of them, dispatching a tough Oklahoma State team in an always dangerous rivalry game.

The Sooners have managed to stay afloat when they could have easily drowned. Their defense was playing poorly in the beginning of the year. They had the preseason issues with Rhett Bomar and had to insert Paul Thompson – a WR – in as quarterback to replace him. Adrian Peterson was lost for the season. Peterson’s replacement, Allen Patrick, went down for a number of games with an ankle injury, yet the Sooners have persevered through it all and could be on their way to the Fiesta Bowl. Give all the credit in the world to Bob Stoops – your coach of the year in the Big 12.

Worst Loss:West Virginia cost itself a shot at a second straight BCS bowl game, falling to South Florida – a better than advertised team – but it came in Morgantown.

The Mountaineers couldn’t get their rushing game going at all, finishing with just 132 yards on the ground, a far, far cry from what the West Virginia’s dynamic duo of Pat White and Steve Slaton each practically average.

Took A Step Forward: Rice, Chris Leak, South Carolina, USC, Troy Smith’s Heisman candidacy

Took A Step Back: Clemson, West Virginia, Notre Dame

Quoteworthy:
"It was a combination of all three facets," Weis said. "We didn't win special teams, offense or defense. Stats are for losers. The bottom line is we moved the ball but didn't put it in the end zone." - Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis

AC Top 10
1. Ohio State
2. USC
3. Michigan
4. Florida
5. LSU
6. Louisville
7. Arkansas
8. Wisconsin
9. Notre Dame
10. Boise State

Posted by Adam Caparell at 02:56 AM on November 26, 2006
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