Category Archives: BCS

SOS: Save Our Shitty-Home-Opener

That SOS can also stand for Strength of Schedule which, under Pete Carroll, has maintained a fairly steady balance between solid (2004) to BCS Death March (2002). SOS is no longer an official part of the BCS formula but it still figures into several of the computer components, and if you don’t have it in a close year it’ll force you to accept the world’s worst consolation prize. In Carroll’s six years the Trojans have played the following out of conference (OOC) games, with season end rankings listed:

2001
San Jose State, unranked
Kansas State, unranked
at Notre Dame, unranked
Utah (Las Vegas Bowl), unranked

2002
Auburn, 14th
at Colorado, 20th, Big XII North Division Champions
at Kansas State, 7th
Notre Dame, 17th
Iowa (Orange Bowl), 8th, Big Ten C0-Champions

2003
at Auburn, unranked
BYU, unranked
Hawai’i, unranked
at Notre Dame, unranked
Michigan (Rose Bowl), 6th, Big Ten Champions

2004
Virginia Tech (BCA Classic at FedEx Field, Maryland), 10th, ACC Champions
Colorado State, unranked
at BYU, unranked
Notre Dame, unranked
Oklahoma (Orange Bowl), 3rd, Big XII Champions

2005
at Hawai’i, unranked
Arkansas, unranked
at Notre Dame, 9th
Fresno State, unranked
Texas (Rose Bowl), 1st, BCS Champions

2006
at Arkansas, 15th, SEC West Division Champions
Nebraska, unranked, Big XII North Division Champions
Notre Dame, 17th
Michigan (Rose Bowl), 8th

If you’re counting, that’s a total of 7 non-BCS teams and 15 BCS teams scheduled in six years, with a 5-1 ratio of BCS-to-non-BCS in bowl games. That’s also 12 home games, 9 away games and one game at a neutral site (2004’s BCA Classic in Maryland). In 2006 the NCAA officially moved to a 12 game regular season; the Pac-10 went from an 8 game schedule to a true round robin with each team playing all nine conference opponents.

And now:

2007
Idaho
at Nebraska
at Notre Dame

Nebraska should be ranked in the twenties with the loss of Zach Taylor offset by former ASU quarterback Sam Keller. Notre Dame should be unranked. And Idaho? Idaho is a holdover from the period when Nick Holt, former linebackers coach and current defensive coordinator for USC, was the Vandals’ head coach. Idaho is filler material. Idaho is Idaho.

And now:

ESPN is brokering an arrangement in which the [Hawai’i] Warriors might open the season Sept. 1 at Southern California. In order for that to occur, USC would have to get out of its scheduled game against Idaho that day.

It’s from The Honolulu Advertiser, and it’s a blurb at the end of an article about a game between Washington and Hawai’i. As in the Hawai’i team featuring Brennan Colt. As in the guy who declared for the draft on the last day possible, then waited 72 hours to undeclare at the last possible minute. As in the guy who threw for 326 touchdowns in one season, 208 of those against Arizona State in the Hawai’i Bowl. As in the guy who’ll be an early season Heisman dark horse behind Darren McFadden, Steve Slaton, Henne/Hart, Brian Brohm, Desean Jackson and (YES) John David Booty.

I say early season Heisman candidate because I am confident that Hawai’i would lose at the Coliseum on Sept. 1 if the game should happen, derailing Colt’s no doubt cute campaign as the kid-who-could-(throw-for-a-bajillion-TDs-against-you). The Warriors return pretty much all of the wide receivers who helped Colt become Division I-A’s single season touchdown leader (58 TDs in 14 games), and the same applies to the offensive line. (Not really: they lose two starters, but as a program heavily stocked in Pacific-Islanders I think we can rightly assume the Warriors will find a few large men to replace the departed.) Offensively, the biggest loss in my opinion is 5’9″ 240 lbs. “wide receiver” Nate Ilaoa, who looked like a svelte bowling ball every time he had the rock. I was a big fan of Ilaoa and his amusing status as a WR.

I am confident USC would beat Hawai’i because the Warriors were 93rd in total defense last season, 105th in pass defense. I’m not trying to pull those numbers out of my ass just to support my homerism. Hawai’i’s schedule was a big meh: it featured such offensive heavyweights as Alabama (65th in total offense), UNLV (84th), Utah State (114th) and, of course, Idaho (94th). It also featured the curious (New Mexico St. at 2nd in the nation in passing with 399 yards/game), the surprising (San Jose St. with 175 rushing yards a game, good for 20th in the nation and a good toss up as to why the Spartans came closer than any other team to beating Boise State) and the miraculous (the aforementioned Broncos of the Smurf Turf).

Numbers are nice, but I’ve seen Hawai’i play twice. In person. They’re losing their best defensive player (safety Leonard Peters, he of Troy Polamalu-ish hair style) and they’re notoriously undisciplined on the defensive side of the ball. In 2005 they held the ball pretty much the entire first quarter against USC and the Trojans scored 63 anyway. Yes, that was with Bush and Leinart and White and Jarrett. But with 2007’s defense I’ll take my chances against any one-dimensional team.

I may be exaggerating my confidence in USC beating Hawai’i. When you can throw for five touchdowns in one half like Colt did to the Sun Devils you should believe you’ll win any game. And the Warriors would be a wee bit excited to play USC, whom they’ve never beaten in six tries, in the Coliseum in front of a national audience – and since ESPN is pushing for it, it’ll be a national audience. Throw in the fact that the Warriors really would have a legit shot of being the first team in six years to beat USC at home and you’ll have a formula for good football watching. For the love of all that is good in this world please don’t make me watch Southern California-Idaho. Please.

And for any (hypothetical) Vandal fans, I’m not mocking you. I’m just stating the truth. This would be mocking you.

However, despite my taking the time to write the above the chances of this deal happening appear to be somewhat slim. Hawai’i-USC has been in the works for a long time now. Both Idaho and USC have been trying to get out of their “game” ever since Holt left Moscow to coach in Los Angeles, but the Trojans have had a hard time convincing teams to give them a single home game. The schedule is full until at least the next decade with Syracuse being added to the 2008 and 2010 seasons, thanks to former Trojan and current Orangemen athletic director Daryl Gross. (Don’t go by the official schedules at the USC athletic website; they haven’t been updated because the deal is a handshake one so far. I’d still say it’s a 90% chancer.) The Trojans don’t have much room to negotiate a true home-and-home and are looking for a one year thing at the Coliseum to balance out six games on the road in 2007. Under NCAA rules Hawai’i can schedule up to five non-conference games a season. The only thing I’ve found is a brief blurb here:

Hawaii athletic director Herman Frazier said they [remaining non-conference games] will be Division I, and is leaning toward home games after Brennan announced Wednesday he will return for his senior season rather than go pro.

C’mon! First rule of athletic directors at mid-majors hoping to push a Heisman candidate: clever is nice, schedule is nicer. Sure, you can try putting together a DVD and sending free copies to all the voters. You could even erect a 100-ft. billboard in downtown New York – but then you’d be Joey Harrington, and no one wants that. Not even Joey Harrington. Heisman voters are stupid, archaic beings who belong to a silly group that hands out an overrated trophy… but they also pay attention to the schedule a candidate plays. If Frazier is worried Colt’s campaign needs a boost by adding home games, he’d do better by the former Mater Dei High quarterback if he asked himself what kind of boost Colt would get by beating the pre-season top ranked Trojans in Los Angeles. In a race featuring at least three or four candidates with better chances than him, a good game against USC is Colt’s best hope for a ticket to New York. Will any of that change what appears to be a foregone slaughter of (yawn) Idaho in the Coliseum? Probably not. Am I gonna get anything out of a couple thousand words advocating USC putting a Heisman candidate on the schedule in a season in which the Trojans have a good shot at the national championship? Probably not.

Boo.

This doesn’t really belong at the end of the post, but 2004 Auburn Tigers? I liked you. I really did. Still: HA-ha.

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Hey Jenny Slater knows who’s who when the revolution comes

Doug’s been keeping tabs, and with five immaculately devastaing posts he says to the college football world: “You know who you are.” You may not agree with the entirety of his list of the 50 Most Loathsome People in College Football (f’rinstance, Colin Cowherd ought to be classified as more loathsome than #35, and I don’t really care about the inclusion of the nearly autistic Georgia “fanatic” BuLLdawg at #39) (also, I just linked to the top ten so click around a bit for the rest), but you have to admire the thoroughness of this compilation. It feels right, mainly because while reading it you threw up a little bit. In your mouth.

Acid… reflux… incapacitating us…

I’m a fan of Doug. He writes with the proper mixture of frustration, outrage, glee, malice, what-the-fuck-was-that, joy and utter confusion that is the birth right of every college football fan. (See #8 on his list.) As I mentioned already, Doug is one of those up for a 2006 College Football Blogger Award. Three, actually.

Did I say I’m a fan of Doug? Doug can go to Hell, that primadonna.

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Riot-fearing Columbus requests assistance from Bartertown, Master Blaster

COLUMBUS, OHIO – In anticipation of unchecked rioting following formerly top ranked Ohio State’s 41-14 loss to the University of Florida in the Tostitos BCS title game, local authorities have requested logistical aid from nearby Bartertown and its diumvirate, Master and Blaster.

Master, right, with Blaster.

Columbus mayor Michael B. Coleman stressed that these were only “precautionary measures”, noting that the city has avoided handing power over to the neighboring outpost “for almost more than three seasons now”. The two cities have existed in an uneasy relationship due to their close proximity to the area’s largest quarry of rocks and metal bits. There has also been an ongoing dispute over watering rights, specifically Larry’s well.

“Though we have had our differences in the past, Bartertown is a friend and an ally in our time of need. We welcome them with open arms,” said Coleman.

It appears the mayor has little choice. Though machete and shotgun wielding bandits have been a common sight in this part of Ohio for years, experts say the situation can only get worse after the Buckeyes were humiliated by Florida on national television. Within thirty minutes of the final play of the game heavily armed dune buggies, semi-trailer trucks and motorcycles ripped through downtown Columbus, shooting at one another in a desperate bid for gasoline and ammunition. Several police officers reported a gang of nearly forty mohawked, leather clad bikers taking up position in front of an all-night liquor store. The officers warned that the looters looked armed and “extremely Australian”.

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Cancer cured: “I am not going to cure cancer,” says Saban

TUSCALOOSA, AL – The world is rejoicing in the wake of new Alabama head coach Nick Saban’s declaration that he is “not going to cure cancer”. Though some scientists have urged restraint and a wait-and-see approach, international celebrations are already underway.

Saban, above, symbolically does away with lung cancer.

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Meyer demands rock-paper-scissors showdown in lieu of BCS title game

The innovator always at work: Meyer demonstrates a new rock-paper-scissors technique he hopes to use in Glendale, Arizona, site of the BCS National Championship.

Gainesville, Fla. – Urban Meyer knows something about unfairness. Two seasons ago the second year Florida head coach had to listen while pundits across the nation knocked the Bowl Championship Series and a system which kept an undefeated Auburn team from playing for the national title. The Tigers beat ACC champion Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl but USC – owners of an impressive 55-19 destruction of previously unbeaten Oklahoma – was everyone’s unanimous champion in 2004. Still, the consensus was that Auburn deserved a shot at the Trojans.

The problem? The Alex Smith led Utah Utes were also undefeated – and coached by Meyer.

“I die a little bit every time I think about it,” Meyer says.

“Not a day goes by that I don’t want to brain an intern or strangle a small dog over the thought of it. We had a good team in ’04. A fine team. To have worked that hard and not even be in the equation….” He trails off and sits in his office, contemplating. The room is brightly lit and fiendishly organized. There are stacks of three ring binders everywhere, all of them neatly labeled with things like “12/6 PERSONNEL PKG.” and “OATMEAL CRAN COOKIES W/ HAZEL GLZ.” Meyer is the only coach present.

“Sometimes,” he says suddenly, “when I’m sitting at home watching game film I’ll use the google to find a picture of the crystal ball and…. It’s hard to explain. Have you ever seen the movie Punch-Drunk Love? There’s this part: Adam Sandler’s character, he’s finally pouring his heart out to the girl, and that scene has always been close to my own heart. It’s something real special.”

Meyer pauses. Upon first meeting him it’s impossible to get a sense of the forces at struggle deep within. He is incredibly cordial and measured, a man every bit in control as a career 59-12 head coaching record would indicate – but now there is a brief crack in the armor. Without getting up from his chair he wheels over to a nearby computer and quickly brings up a picture of the BCS national championship trophy. Meyer stares intently at the screen, nodding quietly.

“I’m lookin’ at your face and I just wanna smash it. I just wanna fuckin’ smash it with a sledgehammer and squeeze it. You’re so pretty,” he whispers, eyes never leaving the crystal football glowing out from the monitor. Continue reading

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Dorrell destroys Carroll’s One Ring; Third Age of USC ends as last of the Trojans sail to Catalina

Los Angeles, Calif. – In a stunning development in the War of Los Angeles, UCLA head football coach Karl Dorrell succeeded in a secret mission to infiltrate the University of Southern California’s campus and throw USC head football coach and Dark Lord Pete Carroll’s One Ring into the fires from whence it came: a furnace in the basement of Heritage Hall.

Heritage Hall.

“The eagles! The eagles are coming!” UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero said when asked about the news.

The War of Los Angeles – which began in 1929 and has continued unabated, with only a few periods of relative peace, up until the modern day – was going badly for UCLA after a period of apparent Bruin dominance stretching from 1991-1998. Since then, various sources have learned that this eight year anomaly was due to Carroll gathering his strength in his fortresses at Foxborough, Massachusetts and East Rutherford, located deep in the dark heart of the Mirkwood Forest.

In early 2001, Carroll sent his lieutenants – the Witch-King of BYU and Ed Orgeron, lord of the mountain trolls – across the Leaguer of La Cienega to retake large portions of the city. Though surprised by the ferocity of the onslaught, UCLA was able to stand its ground in the early months of the siege and retain a tactical stalemate in the recruiting battles.

Norm Chow, Witch-King of BYU.

That same year Carroll returned from the East, having rebuilt the stronghold of Heritage Hall and marshaled his forces. Though he met with fierce resistance, leading the Trojans to a 6-6 record in his first year, USC trounced UCLA 27-0 in their first meeting with the Dark Lord Carroll at the helm.

Several days after that slaughter, prolific college football announcer and official historian of Rivendell Keith Jackson wrote, “The world is changed. I feel it in the water. I feel it in the earth. I smell it in the air. Much that once was is lost, for none now live who remember it. It began with the forging of the Great Rings. Three were given to the Big Ten, immortal, wisest and fairest of all beings because they refused to move away from the cold, which was very, very, very cold. The freeze your nuts off kind of cold. Seven to the Big Twelve, great huskers of corn and sooners of… soon. And nine, nine rings were gifted to the SEC, who, above all else, desire power and a cupcake out of conference schedule. Then something about the ACC and the Big East, blah blah blah yadda yadda.”

“But they were, all of them, deceived, for another Ring was made. In the land of California, in the fires of Heritage Hall, the Dark Lord Carroll forged in secret a master Ring, to control all others. And into this Ring he poured his cruelty, his malice and his will to blitz from all angles. One Ring to rule them all. Whoa Nellie.”

Since then, the war-mongering Trojans tore through the countrysides of college football, marauding their way to an 11-2 record and a BCS victory over Iowa in 2002, a 12-1 record and an Associated Press national championship in 2003 and a 13-0 record and a consensus national championship in 2004, as well as sacking such cities as Auburn, Tempe, Eugene, Seattle, Norman, Ann Arbor and Minas Ithil, now called by men Minas Morgul.

The tide was turned, however, when the Texas Longhorns – led by Vince Young, the captain of the Burnt Orange Host – defeated the Trojans at the Battle of the Arroyo Seco on January 4, 2006. The key moment of the struggle came when USC running back Reggie Bush – the chosen instrument of the Dark Lord Carroll’s wrath – inexplicably chose to lateral the One Ring to, of all people, walk-on wide receiver Brad Walker. Walker, like the millions of people watching the telecast live and the tens of thousands present for the climactic battle, was completely surprised and thus fumbled the Ring away.

A reenactment of Bush’s lateral.

On the ensuing possession Young stumbled upon the One Ring and, his powers amplified by the unspeakably powerful artifact, began hurdling Trojan defenders and tossing aside anyone wearing a cardinal and gold jersey. The Longhorns won 41-38, derailing Carroll’s plans to “cover all the lands with a second darkness,” according to Jackson.

In the aftermath of Texas’ victory celebration, head coach Mack Brown and Young argued over what should be done with the One Ring. According to witnesses, the two could not come to any agreement over a course of action.

“It is a gift. A gift to the foes of Southern California. Why not use this Ring? Long has my daddy, Bob Stoops of Oklahoma, kept the forces of USC at bay… mainly by sacrificing himself to the tune of 55-19 to their howling hordes. By the blood of his people are our lands kept safe. Give Texas the weapon of the Enemy. Let us use it against him!” Brown reportedly pleaded to his quarterback.

“But coach, it’s shiny! I wanna use it for an earring,” Young retorted.

Young – known far and wide for both his colossal strength and legendary lack of cunning – was stymied by the One Ring’s perfectly circular and inviolate form. Putting it aside for a moment to consult his trusted librum of learned sages and venerated wisdom, the Texas quarterback lost track of the Ring before giving up and deciding to declare for the NFL draft a mere three seconds later.

The Illuminated Breakfastnomicon of Numenor, Young’s favorite reference work.

The series of events which transpired to place the One Ring into the hands of the unlikeliest and blandest of heroes have yet to be explained, but it is irrefutable that Dorrell came across the artifact sometime during his January convalescence while recovering from the 66-19 rout UCLA suffered at the hands of Carroll’s forces more than a month earlier.

According to several sources, Dorrell considered hiding the Ring or throwing it into the Pacific Ocean. The Dark Lord Carroll’s success in recruiting – culminating in yet another number one ranked class of five star marauders and a large group of four star pillagers – as well as reports that he was bending all his dark will in pursuit of his lost Ring persuaded Dorrell and a deeply concerned Pacific 10 council of elders and pussy-willows that drastic measures were required.

A hastily assembled plan was conceived: Dorrell and dimunitive UCLA tailback Maurice Drew would traverse the dangerous paths of the Interstate-10 East, the foreboding slopes of the Misty Mountains and the dreaded Parking Lot of Doom that is the Harbor Freeway until they came to the lands of USC and the fires beneath Heritage Hall. There they were to cast the Ring into the gorge of flame which birthed it.

Reports, however, indicate that Dorrell hesitated upon the lip of the raging cauldron of lava. The fourth year head coach then turned to Drew and said “The Ring is mine!”, claiming the artifact as his own.

A struggle ensued with Drew – by then also under the hypnotic effect of the object of ineffable evil – assaulting Dorrell for control of the Ring. Drew apparently bit off several of Dorrell’s fingers and successfully gained control of the artifact. During his celebration the tailback stepped too close to the white hot lip of the Heritage Hall furnace and fell in, taking the One Ring with him.

According to Dorrell, Drew’s last words were, “I still should’ve been drafted ahead of Reggie Bussshhh!”

The destruction of the Ring was immediately followed by a week which saw an investigation into the housing arrangements of Bush’s family, as well as quarterback Matt Leinart and wide receiver Dwayne Jarrett, an accusation of sexual assault against quarterback Mark Sanchez, the stocks of multiple USC prospects dropping in the annual NFL draft, and the fall of Heritage Hall into a Heisman strewn pit of rubble and ash.

A mass exodus of the last Trojans left in the wake of that ruinous week has begun. A record number of power and sail boats, as well as numerous yachts and several cruise ships, have taken leave from Marina del Rey, Santa Barbara and San Diego harbors en route to Catalina Island, where the Trojans hope to fortify their last bastion of strength with a Fourth of July ceremony involving the Trojan Marching Band and many, many margaritas.

Most scholars agree that the Third Age of USC Football has now ended with the destruction of Dark Lord Carroll’s One Ring.

The First Age came to a close with the retirement of Howard Jones in 1940 and the dissolution of his terrifying Thundering Herds. The Second Age saw its end when the successful Tampa Bay Gambit was employed in defeating USC head coach John McKay.

John McKay, moments before being fooled by the legendary Tampa Bay Gambit.

The Dark Lord Carroll, when reached for comment, had this to say: “Hot dang, Karl fell for it? [The rest of USC’s coaching staff is] going to laugh their asses off. I got that ring out of a Cracker Jack box and had a graduate assistant plant it in his garden. Then we set up some fireworks over by Heritage Hall and got some of the [Trojan Marching Band] drummers to make a whole lot of noise. I guess no one knows I got my Ring back when I distracted Vince Young with a bit of tinfoil right after the end of the game. I’m real jacked up about it.”

“Don’t tell him, though, okay? Karl seemed real excited and it’d be a shame to disappoint him this soon before the new season starts and I get to plunder Westwood again.”

[With apologies to J.R.R. Tolkien, Mel Brooks and Peter and Keith Jackson.]

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