Murder by numbers: The dethroning of a conference King

college football, USC, Oregon, Matt Barkley
The debacle in Eugene is two days behind us, but not likely to be forgotten.  Unlike other losses by Pete Carroll coached teams, this one can not be blamed on a bad bounce, bad call, bad half, or bad decision.  It was simply bad from beginning to end, leaving USC without a scapegoat, excuse, or place to hide.  Oregon’s 47-20 victory served a quick dose of reality that the Empire is finding difficult to swallow. After boasting seven years of reloading to remain among the gridiron’s upper echelon, we now come face to face with rebuilding, a sight unseen since 2001.

The preseason polls gave a top-5 ranking and we believed. Nine defensive starters were gone, along with a first-round quarterback and two coordinators, and still we believed.  Such losses would cripple most programs, but not at USC, where we have become creatures of habit.  We look into the distance and see future NFL stars waiting their turn to take the field.  But draw them closer, and we see inexperienced youth , and a unit needing time to gel.

In one game, four quarters of football, Oregon closed the distance and pushed the program into a position where we could no longer overlook the obvious to focus on dream.  The Ducks pushed the Trojans from end to end, before finally pushing them from a longstanding perch.

*27 points marks the largest margin of defeat by a USC team coached by Pete Carroll.  The previous number was 11 in a 2001 loss to Notre Dame.

*Oregon’s 47 points were the most ever scored by a Ducks team against USC. The old record was 34, dating back to 1915.

*For the first time since Kansas State in 2001, USC allowed two players to crack the century mark in rushing, with Jeremiah Masoli finishing with 164 yards, and LaMichael James adding another 183.

*Oregon produced 613 yards of total offense.  The most ever surrendered by a USC opponent was 623 by Notre Dame in 1946.

*The offense scored just 3 points in the second half, and converted on just 4 of 14 on third downs.

*The loss to Oregon likely ends a streak of 7 consecutive conference titles, and places a streak of 7 consecutive BCS bowl games  in jeopardy.

*USC lost their 4th straight game in the state of Oregon, second consecutive in Eugene.

After the Halloween embarrassment, USC tumbled to No. 12 in the BCS standings.  Following a display of dominance, Oregon rose just two spots to No. 8.  I questioned whether the Ducks would be able to leap-frog Boise State, who gave them their only loss on the season, and they did not.

With USC needing Oregon to lose 3 games in conference, it’s safe to say that a king has been dethroned.  But the future appears as promising as the past, with construction of a quarterback in progress and the welding of new armor.

Fight On!

[Scott Wolf]  [BCS Standings]

~ by Anthony on November 2, 2009.

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