Rear View: Trojan dogs have their day

USC finally broke through that agonizing barrier of continuity and frustration. Saturday’s 24-21 victory over Arizona marked the first of the season in an underdog role, and first over a ranked opponent.

For the past eight years, the word “upset” occupying a sentence with the letters “U-S-C” signified a Trojan loss. In this period of change, it was the unranked Trojans toppling the 18th ranked Wildcats in Tucson. After losses to Stanford and Oregon, Arizona represented the third and final ranked opponent on the 2010 schedule, and the third to enter as the favorite.

The victory earned the men of Troy a spot in this week’s AP poll, appearing at No. 20, as one of four Pac 10 programs on the list. It also scored the Trojans first victory over an opponent that defeated them a year ago, after going 0-3 in rematches against Washington, Stanford, and Oregon.

Lane Kiffin is now 7-3 in his first year, with two last second field goals preventing a 9-1 start. With three games remaining on the slate, a 10-win season is within reach, and Southern California should be favored in the remainder of its games.  Upcoming opponents, Oregon State, Notre Dame, and UCLA, combine for an overall season record of 14-15.

Game Ball: Marc Tyler. The best defense against an up-tempo spread offense is a time consuming ground game. USC found that in Tyler, who rushed for a career high 160 yards, while toting the rock 31 times.

Honorable Mention: The offensive line. After being spotlighted as underachievers, the big guys in the trench stepped up their game to give Barkley maximum protection and create running lanes for Tyler’s big day.

Pac’in it in

Oregon 15, Cal 13: Perhaps one of the more surprising scores of the weekend came from Berkeley. The Ducks finally went on the road and beat Jeff Tedford, but for the first time this season, Kelly’s quack attack was forced to play a fourth quarter with victory still in doubt. Saturday proved that Oregon isn’t invincible, but it is still perfect.

Stanford 17, Arizona State 13: I know, like Oregon-Cal, you probably bet the over and lost. The Cardinal and Sun Devils produced fewer points than expected, but the outcome was predictably the same. “So close, yet so far” is easily the theme for Arizona State’s 2010 season.

Washington State 31, Oregon State 14: The Beavers quickly found that a loss to Washington State leaves you nowhere to hide. Oregon State was spotlighted earlier this season in big games against Boise State and TCU, before falling to the wayside and out of the limelight. But all it took was an ass-kicking from a perennial Pac 10 doormat to become a media headliner once again. In order of importance, college football’s top stories went from Cam Newton lifting Auburn, Oregon’s offense standing still, and TCU’s nail-biter—to Washington State ending a 16-game Pac 10 drought, with a Beaver’s assist, of course.

Song of the day: Break on through~The Doors

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~ by Anthony on November 16, 2010.

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