Chauncey Washington’s 220 yards were a career best, but no one ought to be surprised. I had Chauncey penciled in for greatness because, as we all know, former CIF Southern Section Division X players who make it to DI-A are the shit.
(Actually, I can really only think of three off the top of my head: Chauncey, Desmond Reed and Napoleon Kaufman. But they are all of them the shit.)
(Also, I have to hand it to Cal. Their throwback jerseys were thoroughly whatever in terms of asthetic appeal, but they triumphed over Washington’s throwbacks in one very important aspect: if you’re going to put on throwback jerseys, it’s important to don clothing that makes you look more like LSU and less like Notre Dame.)
The game ball must obviously go to Chauncey, but I finally got to watch USC play and I was completely unsurprised to see SS Kevin Ellison completely dominate the field. He missed two tackles but one of those was due to him trying to pop the ball out and another happened because Cal’s Justin Forsett ran like a greased up, incontinent Thor on his way to Asgard’s bathroom. (This imagery is not mine: it’s Neil Gaiman’s. That English bastard has a lotta nerve writing things before me.)
I do have to admit that, as I was sitting at a Buffalo Wild Wings in Knoxville full of nervous hatred, I jumped up and screamed “FUCK YOU” at Cal QB Nate Longshore after he got picked off by Terrell Thomas. I didn’t really mean it, Nate. It’s just that Desean Jackson got so little TV time I had to scream at somebody.
Jackson, who had two catches for 41 yards and two punt returns for zero yards against USC in 2006, had five catches for 64 yards and one punt return for zero yards in Strawberry Canyon on Saturday night. The above picture shows Thomas tackling Jackson on a punt return and also sums up Jackson’s contribution to the game.
Jackson looks like a cross between a gazelle and Edwin Moses, the eternal 400-meter hurdle champion who won 107 consecutive finals from ’77 to ’87, and in actual meatspace this bestiality analogy does Jackson no justice: #1 will out run anything with less than three legs and pat himself on the back while on the podium, but the gazelle and Edwin Moses were creatures of action and very rarely fonts of bombast and ego. Gazelles – when not hampered by the lack of a voicebox and higher thought - usually offered helpful, non-self centered advice only in African myths and folklore, and Moses - when not burning a hole in someone’s face with his I-may-very-well-want-to-kill-you-at-the-end-of-this-race stare - spoke of the self only in terms of winning: “I have the killer instinct,” Moses said. “It’s ego. When I’m on the track, I want to beat everyone.” I suppose if ESPN had been around during Moses’ streak he might very well have, when confronted by a couple dozen mics after every win, spouted off something ridiculous. He didn’t, though. He just ran and won. Gazelles don’t get asked for quotes much, either, but I’m pretty sure they just run and eat grass.
Desean Jackson called out Terrell Thomas in ESPN The Magazine’s college football preview, saying that Thomas needed the help of triple coverage and, by logic, shouldn’t have been talking trash.
Asked about the Thomas incident, Jackson told writer Bruce Feldman, “That dude was just talkin’ to be talkin’. If Pete Carroll told his 10 other players to focus on everything else and it was just me and Terrell Thomas, oh man, I’d expose that dude. But being the best player, you gotta deal with that stuff. It just makes you better.” Apprised of Jackson’s comments on Wednesday, Thomas said, “He had two catches and we won — that’s all I care about. He can take it as an individual matchup. I enjoy the competition, but we play a team game. . . . It wasn’t just me. It was the whole defense.” Jackson also said he would rather defeat the Trojans than win the Heisman. “Honestly I don’t need to win it if we beat SC,” he said. [Can't find working link to LA Times article.]
I think it’s pretty obvious who got the better of whom here, so I won’t bother pointing that out. I will say that you should never, ever talk about winning Heismans and beating your rival and which one you’d rather do. Cedric Benson once said he’d rather win the Heisman than beat Oklahoma, perhaps not realizing that to do the one he had to do the other. Jackson is a fine player and will more than likely make someone else’s pants soggy with fear-urine when he opts to leave for the NFL, and I am grateful for it because I really only have one pair of jeans. I am also grateful because one of my favorite athletes of all time is Muhammad Ali, who perhaps invented but nonetheless perfected the art of trash talking and who dominated his sport for fifteen years. Trash talking is a wondrous thing, but only if you win. Those who jaw to the extent that Jackson has should be lifted up on high when they follow through and laughed at when they lose. I am now laughing at Desean Jackson, and rightly so. If you respect yourself, college football and the theory of trash talk, you should join in.
Now bring on the Holiday Bowl!