Wow! What a sad weekend to be a Los Angeles college football fan. Stanford pulls what may be the biggest upset EVER (according to the point spread, -40.5) in taking down USC on its home field, giving them their first home loss in 6 years (also against Stanford, way back when Ty Willingham was their coach). ‘SC has looked shaky for weeks (esp. the Washington and Idaho games) but I don’t think anyone (certainly not Las Vegas) saw the meltdown coming against Stanford. No disrespect to the Cardinal (did I just say that? OK, some disrespect to the Cardinal), but USC is more talented at almost every position and should win this game going away every week. However, it’s obvious that John David Booty isn’t Matt Leinart or Carson Palmer, and this year’s crop of receivers are, so far, quite ordinary. It remains to be seen if USC is still a top-10 team (like the polls seem to think so), but I wouldn’t be surprised to see them lose a couple more games down the stretch.
And Stanford? Give ‘em credit for hanging around, and even more credit for playing out of their minds at the end there. Who the heck is this Tativa Pritchard fellow? Not great numbers (11-30, 1 TD, 1 INT), but they sure beat Booty’s 4 interceptions, and I’m sure the only numbers he cares about are Stanford 24, USC 23. No word yet on whether starting QB T.C. Ostrander has been Wally Pipp‘ed.
USC’s loss in the LA Coliseum was shocking; UCLA’s loss in the Rose Bowl was just sad. Pathetic. Some might call it Dorrellian. No one should be losing to Notre Dame right now, least of all a team that’s still, somehow, in first place in the Pac-10. You can pin a lot of the blame on the quarterback situation, which is a complete disaster right now. Starter Ben Olson went down in the first quarter, backup Pat Cowan was already injured from two weeks ago when UCLA survived Washington, and so McLeod Bethel-Thompson, the freshman walk-on with three last names, was forced to step in. He was woefully underprepared, and it showed in the 4 interceptions he threw, not to mention the fumble that was returned for a touchdown.
At this juncture, I’d like to point out something I wrote last week:
- Oh yes, and Notre Dame lost again last weekend, this time to Purdue. 0-5 and no end in sight. This week they travel to UCLA, and if the Bruins manage to lose this one, Karl Dorrell should be fired on the spot.
It’s Monday and Dorrell still has a job. Now, the QB situation is a large, mitigating factor (how many teams would be in good hands with their third-string quarterback, especially if he was a walk-on?), but right now, I can’t see how Dorrell isn’t collecting unemployment in January.
In a development that may surprise you, two other Pac-10 games took place last weekend. Here’s what you almost certainly missed:
- ASU held on to its undefeated season and national ranking, but just barely, escaping Pullman with a 23-20 victory in what was surprisingly a defensive struggle. Watching this game early on, I though perhaps I was mistakenly watching Iowa-Penn State. Pullman can be a tough place to win at (see Cal’s hard-fought 21-3 victory last year), and the home crowd certainly wasn’t very welcoming of former head coach Dennis Erickson, but ASU did pull out the victory, and sometimes, that’s all that’s really important. Especially when two other conference contenders get upset at home on the same weekend. For Washington State coach Bill Doba, well, he’s gonna have to find some wins soon if he doesn’t want to join Dorrell in the unemployment line, and with @ Oregon, UCLA, and @ Cal up in the next 3 weeks, that will be tough to do.
- Oregon State built a 31-3 lead on Arizona, and this week, managed not to choke it all away. Hurrah! OSU QB Sean Canfield didn’t have a great day (17-30, 1 TD, 2 INT), but it was a darn sight better than Willie Tuitama’s performance (18-38, 0 TD, 3 INT). For all the Pac-10’s vaunted pass-happy offenses, the West Coast sure put on some crappy QB performances Saturday night. Washington State’s Alex Brink was the only Pac-10 QB to throw for more touchdowns than interceptions on Saturday (2-1), and he didn’t even win his game.
Finally, our OOC opponents had a mixed day. Tennessee, after a few weeks off, returned to the national rankings after destroying No. 12 Georgia 35-14 (and one of Georgia’s TDs came in the waning minutes of the game). With USC’s tumble from the top of the polls, Cal may need Tennessee to put together a solid season to boost Cal’s strength of schedule, especially if they need to hold off Ohio State for the #2 spot in the polls. So far, so good. With Florida’s 2nd SEC loss coming at LSU, Tennessee is in the driver’s seat to win the SEC East and play in the SEC title game. Their remaining schedule is relatively kind, as they miss both LSU and Auburn and have already played Florida. They also get South Carolina at home in the game that could decide the division title.
Alas, Colorado State didn’t fare as well, falling 24-20 to San Diego State, a school known more for their parties than their football team. Louisiana Tech fared even worse, getting shut out at Ole Miss (although, having just finished reading Bruce Feldman’s ‘Meat Market’, I’m kinda rooting for Old Miss, in a small way at least). Still no wins against I-A competition for LaTech, and still no wins at all for Colorado State. Fan-freaking-tastic.