Teams to root for during the bye week blues
After five weeks of football, we’ve finally arrived at a break point. No band playing, no Song Girls swaying , and no Trojans taking the field. It’s the bye week, which gives the team an opportunity to catch their breath, get healthy, regroup, and work on minor details in the quest for perfection. But when it comes to the fans, we are left with nothing. There’s no mistaking the loyalty. It’s love for USC and hate for everyone else, so those games being played this week won’t generate much interest. But in terms of the future, and the possibility of the Trojans winning out, there are a few select games that should draw interest, and some teams you should be rooting for.
No. 1 Florida at No. 4 LSU
If it were possible for both teams to lose this game, I’d be all for it. But since that isn’t even remotely possible, you must choose one. The obvious reason is both these SEC programs being ranked above the USC. For any advancement in the polls, teams need to fall.
Root for LSU to knock off Florida, and hope for the final score to not be close. In a perfect world, The Tigers would hand Florida their first loss, dropping the Gators, though enabling their own climb. But LSU still has to meet No. 3 Alabama in the future, and in a perfect world they would lose that game, and the Tide would lose to a healthy Gators team in the SEC championship game. That calls for a lot to occur to bring USC back into the national championship discussion, but wishful thinking is not a crime.
Boston College at No. 5 Virginia Tech
This is another that is clearly obvious. If both USC and Virginia Tech finish with one loss, there is a slight chance that USC would receive the championship game nod over the Hokies. Credit that to the media love for the Trojans, and the parity of the ACC that makes most opponents appear mediocre. To bulldoze a path to the top of the rankings, root for the private Catholic school not named Notre Dame.
Colorado at No. 2 Texas
You can hoot and holler until your faces turn red, but I doubt the Empire has enough mojo to carry the lowly Buffaloes past the second ranked Horns. With the way the Big 12 is shaping up, it doesn’t look like there’s anything or anyone that can stop the Longhorns from stampeding into the national championship game. The last gasp may be a crippled Oklahoma team in the Red River rivalry, but Texas Tech has dropped off, Oklahoma State is hardly threatening without Dez Bryant, and the Big 12 North has nothing to offer. Root for Colorado, but not with high expectations.
No. 3 Alabama at No. 20 Ole Miss
Mississippi was the most overrated and overhyped preseason program. Houston Nutt’s teams are historically inconsistent, so I never really understood the high expectations of the media. But if there’s one thing Nutt is good for, it’s at least one upset a year. Last year his Rebels bit Florida, and hopefully the underdog can show its teeth and nip the Tide at home. Root for Ole Miss. Go Jevan Snead!
Wisconsin at No. 9 Ohio State
Ohio State desperately needs USC to lose another game, as the Trojans now act as a road block to their movement in the polls. But on the flip side, USC desperately needs the Buckeyes to keep winning. Ohio State is the only quality win for the Trojans, and are currently the only ranked team USC has played. If it comes down to measuring opponents, a Buckeyes team ranked in the top ten can be used as a springboard to the championship game.
No. 13 Oregon at UCLA
It doesn’t get much easier than this. Love the Ducks and hate the Bruins. If Oregon can continue to win, USC’s trip to Eugene could feature two top ten teams. Watching another season of Rick Neuheisel and Norm Chow not living up to coaching expectations is the added bonus. The Ducks are banged up, and Masoli’s ability to play remains questionable. But even so, add our feathered friends to your list of favorites this week.
Stanford at Oregon State
Beavers and a tree? Who do you hate more? Eh, nevermind, because it really doesn’t matter. What does is Stanford leading the Pac 10. Why wait for an opportunity to knock them off ourselves, when someone else can get it started. Also, Stanford gets very little media love, so how many games would they have to win before they cracked the top 25? I think the Beavers can return to the elite group faster than the big lipped trees.
Honorable Mention: Yes, Washington needs to beat Arizona. I don’t care who the Huskies are playing in any given week, but the more victories the better for USC. Here’s hoping Sarkisian will be bowl eligible.