Los Angeles draped for football frenzy
USC spent the first half of the 2010 season existing in an unfamiliar place of insignificance. Sanctions relegated the program to performing nearly unnoticed before a less interested national audience, slipping the Trojans from the stage of championship contention and college football honors, and treating them like a Pac 10 has-been with no sign of a pulse. But everything changes on Saturday, as USC will host Oregon in a game of national relevance, and can seize an opportunity to show doubters, deserters, and NCAA enforcers that it is still alive and kicking.
Troy is celebrating its homecoming, and among the festivities, you can expect a capacity crowd welcoming their visitors with a Cardinal Red-Out. In case you didn’t get the memo, USC students and fans are encouraged to surround the mustard and relish of Oregon with our cardinal waves of football royalty. Los Angeles will also be the site of ESPN’s College Gameday, with that event beginning at 6am local time.
And yes, there’s also a football game being played that can potentially reshape the college football landscape and blur the BCS picture.
No. 24 USC will host the AP and Coaches’ top ranked Ducks. For a team more accustomed to holding the top spot and the target that comes with it, the Trojans will play a top ranked opponent for the first time since losing to No. 1 Washington in 1992. To find Southern California facing a No. 1 opponent at home, we have to go back to 1988, when second ranked USC fell to Notre Dame.
Overall, the Trojans are 7-11 all-time versus top ranked teams, and 0-3 in the last three attempts. USC’s last victory over No. 1 was a 16-7 dumping of Washington in 1984. In contrast, it doesn’t take much of a search to find Oregon’s results in games played as the nation’s highest ranked team. The Ducks received their first No. 1 ranking in the school’s history just two weeks ago. They defended it in the only game played since, and will now take that rank on the road for another test.
The nation’s No. 1 program, be it AP, Coaches, or BCS measure, has fallen to defeat in three consecutive weeks, with Oklahoma (BCS) becoming the most recent victim last Saturday. In all occurrences, the ESPN Gameday crew was in attendance, first in South Carolina (Alabama loss), then Wisconsin (Ohio State loss), before reaching Columbia Missouri. Herbstreit and company will now witness a fourth in as many weeks, with the Trojans looking to add the ducks to a pile of top ranked fatalities.
On the eve of Halloween, the historic coliseum returns to the spotlight. Draped with stories of pride, vengeance, and perseverance, the venue provides another stage for football frenzy, and another game with national championship implications.
The irrelevant is—relevant.