Rear view: The luck of the Irish

Now that I’ve settled from the hectic weekend, and recovered from a bout of trytophan laziness, I can finally look back on the week that was.

Luck of the Irish

The 2010 version of the greatest intersectional rivalry wasn’t one of the most entertaining in the series, but it will forever hold significance. Notre Dame’s 20-16 victory over USC snapped an 8-game losing streak to the longtime nemesis. The Trojans’ failure to finish cost them for the third time this season, with the defense unable to hold after a go-ahead score, and the offense squandering an opportunity to answer late.

The three most replayed images of the past weekend consisted of missed field goals by Boise State, a fight between Texans Andre Johnson and Titans Cortland Finnegan, and a dropped pass by USC’s Ronald Johnson.

On a rain soaked coliseum field, the sure-handed senior sat in disgust and disbelief over a Mitch Mustain pass that he failed to secure. A catch gives Mustain a storybook ending. A catch extends the streak. A catch sends RoJo off to the NFL knowing he had never lost to the Irish. But a drop gives us a sequence on tape that will be replayed for generations as one the game-changing moments in the historic series.

“I don’t know that I’ve seen a player take a game or a play harder than Ronald did,” Kiffin said. “He was obviously a wreck after the game. So emotional. He felt he had let so many people down. Probably some of that is my fault.”–OC Register

Among the streaks that came to an end, the loss also marked Southern California’s first defeat by an out of conference regular season opponent since Kansas State in 2002, which amounted to 27 straight without fail. The Trojans also recorded their third 2010 loss at home, which is the most since 2000 (5), and equals the amount of games lost in the Coliseum for the previous seven seasons combined.

Pac’in in it

Oregon 48, Arizona 29: The Ducks are one of two BCS contenders that found themselves trailing at the half, with the other being Auburn. Of course, there was no need for alarm, with Kelly’s team being in that position many times before. A four point half time deficit quickly became a 12-point lead at the end of three. In the end, Oregon claimed the Pac 10 title and remains in the national championship hunt. Arizona, still ranked 23rd in the latest BCS release, has lost three straight.

Stanford 38, Oregon State 0 : Boise State is no longer a factor, but in a game of competitive scores, how does TCU top the Cardinal’s performance against the Beavers? It was Stanford’s third shutout of an opponent this season, and it moved them to No. 4 in the BCS Standings. If the position can be held for one more week, Stanford is guaranteed a BCS bowl birth. But even more intriguing is that big “What If”. What if both Oregon and Auburn lose this week? Or what if just one falters? Would the voters launch Stanford into the BCS title game with an opportunity to be crowned the best team in the country, though its just second best in conference? Surely the resume is greater than TCU and Wisconsin.

Washington 16, Cal 13: Remember when Nevada’s drubbing of Cal was the biggest win in the program’s history? With the Wolfpack beating Boise State this weekend, the Bears are off the hook. But there’s no looking passed the failure of Cal’s football season. Tedford’s program finishes with just 3 wins in conference, and at 5-7 will not qualify for postseason play. Washington can become bowl eligible with an Apple Cup victory this week.

Arizona State 55, UCLA 34: Norm Chow received a 2-year contract extension, and Lo and behold, the Bruins put up points. If that’s the secret to sudden success, then an extension for defensive coordinator Chuck Bullough is due, if there’s to be any balance of the team.


~ by Anthony on November 30, 2010.

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