Archive for November, 2002

USC 44, Notre Dame 13

Saturday, November 30th, 2002

Let’s see those BCS bastards pick the Irish over the Trojans now.

USC eviscerated Notre Dame, 44-13, at the Coliseum on Saturday. The #6 (soon to be at least #5) Trojans absolutely dominated the #7 (soon to be ranked in double-digits) Fighting Irish, racking up an astounding 610 total yards — the most ever scored against Notre Dame — and holding the Irish to a pathetic 109 total yards.

USC’s should-be Heisman Trophy winner Carson Palmer had 425 yards passing — again, the most ever given up by Notre Dame — and four touchdowns. Fab freshman (and Becky’s former academic tutee) Mike Williams caught 10 passes for 169 yards and two of Carson’s touchdowns. And the Trojan defense held Notre Dame’s much-ballyhooed (by the ABC announcers, at least) quarterback, Carlyle Holiday, to 10-of-29 passing for 70 yards, with three interceptions.

This is the first time USC has beaten UCLA and Notre Dame in the same season since 1981. And they did it by a combined score of 96-34.

USC, which played the toughest schedule in the whole freakin’ country, finishes its season 10-2. We beat Colorado (soon to be ranked in the Top 10), 40-3. We beat a good Auburn team, a bunch of good Pac-10 teams, and we destroyed our two archrivals. Our only losses were to Washington State and Kansas State, both Top 10 teams. It should be enough to put the Trojans in a BCS bowl game. But will it be?

Incredibly, Notre Dame could actually beat out USC for the final BCS bowl berth despite Saturday’s thorough drubbing at the Trojans’ own hands. The Irish and the Trojans both finished their seasons 10-2, which means their head-to-head matchup should be the tiebreaker, and the Trojans should win, right? Well, yeah, it should, but it doesn’t necessarily work that way. After the “automatic berths” are given out to the six major-conference champions, the BCS bowls can pick whoever they want from the remaining teams in the BCS Top 12 rankings. And money, not football prowess, is often the determining factor in who gets picked.

So the Orange or Sugar Bowl still may pick Notre Dame, which has the nation’s biggest and most well-travelled fan base, even though USC wiped the floor with the overrated Irish on Saturday. But there are several ways that this option could be taken away from the greedy bowl bastards:

1. As stated last week, Trojan fans should swallow their hatred of the Bruins and root like hell for UCLA in its game against Washington State next Saturday. If the Bruins win, the Trojans are Pac-10 champions — which means they get an automatic bid to the Rose Bowl (which is one of the BCS bowls), no more questions asked. (Unless, of course, the Trojans qualify for the national-championship Fiesta Bowl — more on that shortly.) Coincidentally, the greedy bowl bastards will be rooting for this scenario too, because it would allow them to have their cake and eat it too: USC gets a big bowl, and Notre Dame can still get the eighth invitation. (In other words, USC taking Washington State’s place would spare the bowl bastards from having to decide whether USC should take Notre Dame’s place. Or, more accurately, whether Notre Dame should take USC’s rightful place.)

2. The Trojans can cement their situation by climbing into the Top 4 of the BCS standings. Any team in the Top 4, even if they’re not a conference champion, automatically gets a BCS berth ahead of any non-Top 4 team. This is very possible: because of #3 Oklahoma’s loss Saturday, the Trojans will be at least #5 when the new rankings come out on Monday. They could be #4 if they pass Iowa, which may happen. If not, they could move up to #4 if either Miami or Georgia loses next Saturday.

3. USC can hope Notre Dame’s loss Saturday is bad enough to make the Irish fall out of the BCS Top 12 entirely. That would render the Irish ineligible for a BCS bowl game. It seems unlikely, because margin of victory is not taken into account anymore by the computer ratings, and the Irish are still a two-loss team with a decent schedule strength. But if the poll voters really punish Notre Dame for its lopsided loss to USC, it could happen.

If none of these things happen, USC will just have to hope the bastards at the Orange or Sugar Bowl do the right thing and pick the obviously better team over the South Bend Pretenders. If they pick Notre Dame anyway, you can be sure it will cause a national controversy, and rightfully so.

Now for the USC national-championship-scenario update:

One of the things that USC needed to happen for its Fiesta Bowl dream to come true happened Saturday: Oklahoma lost. Unfortunately, Miami and Georgia both won victories even more convincing than the Trojans’. So now USC needs both of those teams to lose next week. Miami plays Virginia Tech; Georgia plays Arkansas. If both lose, the Trojans not only clinch a BCS bowl game, but they can seriously think Fiesta.

If Miami and Georgia both lose next week, the top four teams in the country at the end of the regular season will be:
#1: Ohio State
#2, 3, and 4, in some order: Iowa, USC, Miami
How those second, third, and fourth-place spots would play out in the rankings is anybody’s guess. It depends on the vagaries of computer formulas, the whims of poll voters, and perhaps a bit of luck. But anything is possible. For now, the point is this: aside from their worst-case scenario of the non-BCS Holiday Bowl, the Trojans could conceivably play in any of the Big Four bowls. We’ll just have to see how it shakes out next week.

In the meantime, the coaches’ and sportswriters’ polls are due out tomorrow morning. Big questions of the hour:
1. Will Georgia leapfrog Iowa? (If they do so, in either poll, USC will probably pass Iowa in the BCS.)
2. How far will Notre Dame fall? (The further they fall, the more likely they drop out of the BCS Top 12.)
3. Will the Trojans leapfrog anybody other than Oklahoma? (I doubt it, but who knows?)
Stay tuned…

UPDATE, 12/8/02: Here are some photos of Becky, her brother Casey and me watching the game on the Zaks’ big-screen TV.

Gobble gobble

Wednesday, November 27th, 2002

Becky and I are off to Arizona tomorrow (well, later today, really, since it’s after 2:00 AM as I write this) for Thanksgiving break. We’ll leave probably around noon or 1:00 PM, and arrive in Phoenix — where Becky’s parents have their winter home — sometime in the evening. The traffic will no doubt be brutal, this being the busiest travel day of the year. But once we get there, it’ll be great: comfy beds, spacious rooms, luxurious showers, and wonderful home cooking courtesy of Mrs. Zak. Oh yeah, and a giant big-screen TV to watch the USC-Notre Dame game on. :)


The front of the house


Becky & the Superstition Mountains

You want more photos? I got more photos. Here’s a gallery of pics from Thanksgiving 2001 at the Zaks’. And here’s another from Thanksgiving 2000 (when they had just moved in).

In other news, is it morally wrong for me to hope that injured Washington State star quarterback Jason Gesser isn’t back in the lineup for the Cougars’ game Dec. 7 against UCLA? (A Cougar loss means USC goes to the Rose Bowl.) I mean, I don’t want him to be maimed for life or anything, but…

Trojans denied at buzzer

Tuesday, November 26th, 2002

In a game that saw each team prematurely celebrating victory within the space of a few seconds, the USC men’s basketball team lost at Rhode Island in overtime tonight, 73-71, after an apparent game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer was waved off when an instant replay showed it was released after time expired. The Trojans had mobbed each other on the court after the shot, only to learn it was no good.

The Trojans only had their last-second chance because Rhode Island’s players stupidly began celebrating on the court after hitting an apparent game-winning shot of their own with 2.2 seconds left. USC took advantage of the Rams’ premature celebration to rush the ball up the court unchallenged, but Desmon Farmer’s shot was just barely too late.

USC coach Henry Bibby complained that Rhode Island should have been assessed a technical foul for its on-the-court celebration after the go-ahead basket with 2.2 seconds to go. Oh, well. But hey, at least UCLA lost, too.

In brighter news for USC fans, the women’s volleyball team — ranked #1 in the country — went to Santa Barbara and swept the #6-ranked Gauchos, 3-0, to finish their reulgar season 24-1. The NCAA Tournament will begin Dec. 5, with the Women of Troy favorites to win the national title.

USC Trojans = national champions?

Tuesday, November 26th, 2002

Nick McAuley has an excellent column in today’s Daily Trojan, in which he explains the various bowl scenarios for the USC football team, including the Trojans’ outside shot at an invitation to the national-championship Fiesta Bowl.

The Trojans need a lot of help to put them in position for a national title, and the scenarios can get a bit complicated. First of all, USC — which is presently #6 in the BCS standings — needs to beat #7 Notre Dame, preferably by a large enough margin to really impress poll voters, this Saturday at 5:00 PM Pacific time.

Beyond that, here are the basics on what needs to happen, and the games USC fans should watch:

#1 Miami (10-0) needs to lose at least once, preferably twice.
The Hurricanes have two games left:
• This Saturday vs. Syracuse (4-7), 10:00 AM Pacific time
• Next Saturday vs. Virginia Tech (8-3), 10:00 AM Pacific time

#3 Oklahoma (10-1) needs to lose at least once.
The Sooners have two games left:
• This Saturday vs. Oklahoma State (6-5), 11:30 AM Pacific time
• Next Saturday vs. #12 Colorado (8-3), 5:00 PM Pacific time

#4 Georgia (10-1) needs to lose at least once.
The Bulldogs have two games left:
• This Saturday vs. Georgia Tech (7-4), 12:30 PM Pacific time
• Next Saturday vs. either LSU (8-3) or Arkansas (8-3), 3:00 PM Pacific time
(The identity of Georgia’s opponent next Saturday will be determined this Friday when LSU plays Arkansas at 11:30 AM Pacific time. Trojan fans should probably root for LSU, which is more highly regarded and probably has a better chance of beating Georgia.)

If all of those things happen, the Trojans are not guaranteed a Fiesta Bowl bid. But they would almost certainly be in the Top 3, along with Ohio State (13-0) and Iowa (11-1), both of whom have already finished their regular seasons. Ohio State would definitely be #1; the Buckeyes are bound for the Fiesta Bowl no matter what. But who would be #2? The one-loss Hawkeyes or the two-loss Trojans? I suspect both the sportswriters’ poll and the coaches’ poll would place Iowa #2 and USC #3. But USC’s strength of schedule — ranked first in the country, compared to Iowa’s rank of 40th — and its strong computer ratings would probably pull it ahead of Iowa in the BCS standings.

Here are a couple of things USC fans should hope for to help boost the Trojans’ statistical chances against Iowa, if it comes to that:
• Colorado beats Nebraska this Friday, 12:30 PM Pacific time
• Notre Dame stays in the BCS Top 10 despite losing to USC this Saturday
• Middle Tennessee State beats Utah State this Saturday, noon Pacific time
• Colorado beats Oklahoma next Saturday, 5:00 PM Pacific time
(Why? Because two Colorado wins should vault the Buffaloes into the Top 10, giving the Trojans “quality win” points for our 40-3 thrashing of Colorado earlier in the season; likewise, if Notre Dame stays in the Top 10, the Trojans will get “quality win” points if we beat the Irish this Saturday; and a Utah State loss would further depress Iowa’s strength of schedule, robbing the Hawkeyes of a few points.)

If this USC-Iowa scenario happened, it would undoubtedly ignite a huge national controversy over the BCS system, just like last year when Nebraska was widely considered an “illegitimate” national-championship contender. Big Ten officials would cry their eyes out, Iowa fans would blame the computers, pundits would protest that a two-loss team shouldn’t beat out a one-loss team for the spot, and much ink would be wasted complaining about it all — but USC would, nonetheless, get a chance to play for the national championship on January 3 against Ohio State. And that’s something to hope for. (Although, in this scenario, if USC won the Fiesta Bowl and Iowa won the Rose Bowl, the sportswriters might award their #1 ranking to Iowa, placing USC at #2 and creating a “split championship.” The coaches’ poll is required to award the #1 ranking to the winner of the BCS championship game, but the Associated Press is not.)

More website milestones

Tuesday, November 26th, 2002

This website received its 7,000th unique hit Monday at 10:05 PM when a CoreComm Internet user found “My world” through a link from RailLinks.com and spent 10 minutes and 59 seconds perusing my photos of my May cross-country train trip.

Then, at 11:10 PM, someone from Susqeahanna University gave the site its unprecendented 1,500th hit this month after finding it through a Yahoo search for the phrase flashing index jpg. Although this somewhat cryptic search term sounds potentially pornographic, the visitor actually stuck around long enough to look at my photos of a train hitting a truck and two photo galleries from this past summer.

Both milestones occurred one day after “My world” set a new record Sunday for most hits in a single day with 98.

USC-UCLA game reaction

Monday, November 25th, 2002

From today’s UCLA Daily Bruin: “And just in case 52 punches to the groin weren’t enough, Washington’s upset over Washington State in the Apple Cup means USC goes to the Rose Bowl if UCLA beats Washington State on Dec. 7. So that leaves us with a question: is it better for the Bruins to win and send USC to Pasadena on Jan. 1 or to lose and screw the Trojans?”

That’s from a column by Jeff Agase. Click here to read the Daily Bruin‘s main game story, or here to read their analysis. Oh, and you view a graphical version of the Bruin‘s sports page, too.

Needless to say, things are a lot happier in the Daily Trojan. For the first time since I’ve been at USC, the DT has a sports game article on its front page. The headline: “Bruins plead no contest.” Click here to read the article. Click here for the rest of the DT‘s game coverage.

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Monday, November 25th, 2002


I stand outside the Rose Bowl on Nov. 23 moments before kickoff in USC’s 52-21 win over UCLA. Click here for more Trojan-Bruin photos!

Website gets record 98 hits

Monday, November 25th, 2002

“My world” broke its all-time record for daily traffic Sunday, but fell just short of the elusive century mark, finishing the day with 98 unique hits. The previous record was 96, set on Oct. 28. The record-breaking 97th hit came at 11:05 PM from an Adelphia Internet user in Glendora who searched on Google for the phrase “usc ucla football 2002 pictures .jpg” and found this site.

The record-tying 96th hit had been recorded less than 20 minutes earlier — from the Netherlands. A user of that country’s UPC Internet service found “My world” at 10:46 PM through a link from Blogger.com. (The day’s 98th and final hit came from a student at Notre Dame, USC’s next football opponent, at 11:13 PM.)

Forty-two of Sunday’s hits game from Google searches. Eighteen came from Yahoo searches, and seven from other search engines. The most popular search topic was the new Harry Potter movie, which attracted 17 hits because of my photo gallery for the movie’s opening night in L.A. The non-search engine hits resulted from direct hits, bookmarks, and links from Blogger and other sites.

The day’s traffic was quite evenly distributed throughout the day, with at least one hit every hour. The maximum hourly total was eight hits, between noon at 1:00 PM.

Sunday was just the latest example of a monthlong surge in hits. The average daily total in November has been 60 hits — compared to between 20 and 25 in previous months — and the monthly total of 1,447 has already smashed the old record, last month’s 1,083, with six days still to go.

The traffic surge actually began in late October, when the frequency of my blog posts increased markedly during the World Series and the D.C. sniper drama. The frequency of changes to my homepage apparently caused “My world” to be listed higher on Google and other search engines, which produced new hits. The Oct. 28 record of 96 hits was the culmination of five straight days of 50-plus hits and four straight 60-plus days, both of which were entirely unprecedented streaks at the time.

Traffic cooled briefly from Oct. 29 to Nov. 2, with only one day out of five topping 50 hits — and that was my birthday, Oct. 30, when a mass e-mail brought lots of friends and family to my site. But then my search-engine traffic picked up again, and since Nov. 3, “My world” has recorded 22 consecutive days of 49 hits or more. Sunday was the site’s fourth straight 60-plus day, tying the Oct. 25-28 record, and its tenth straight 50-plus day, breaking the Nov. 5-13 record of nine days in a row.

The four busiest days in “My world” history are now Nov. 24 (98), Oct. 28 (96), Nov. 18 (84), and Oct. 27 (82, including three hits not shown in the chart above because Daylight Savings Time made it a 25-hour day). The old record holder, May 28 (80), has fallen all the way down to fifth place just 28 days after that record, which had stood for almost five months, was broken.

The website’s first daily traffic record, 72, was set on its launch date of Nov. 30, 2001. It was a mark that stood for 179 days, until May 28, 2002. Then that day’s record of 80 hits lasted for 152 days until the Daylight Savings Time-assisted record-breaker on Oct. 27. But the Oct. 27 record (82) only lasted for one day — it was shattered when Oct. 28 saw 96 hits. That record stood for 27 days. It remains to be seen how long this new record will last.

One last traffic note: “My world” will probably surpass 7,000 hits today. It now stands at 6,953 since the present hit counter was installed on Feb. 23.

Trojans crush the Bruins!
…and now we become their biggest fans

Saturday, November 23rd, 2002

USC destroyed UCLA on Saturday, 52-21, which can only mean one thing: we now love the Bruins.

Why? Because if UCLA beats Washington State in two weeks, USC wins the Pac-10 championship, and we get to return to the Rose Bowl (site of our triumph today) for the Granddaddy of Them All on January 1. So, say it with me, Trojan fans: Let’s go Bruins! Let’s go Bruins!

Ah yes, and can’t you hear the UCLA coaches now? “C’mon guys, let’s go out there and win one for the Trojans!”

Okay, maybe not. But anyway, enough about the future. (More on that later.) Let’s talk about today’s game!


Trojan head coach Pete Carroll gets carried off the field after the Trojans’ triumph.

As impressive as a 52-21 final score is, it really wasn’t even that close. USC led 52-7 late into the fourth quarter, but allowed the Bruins to score two late touchdowns during garbage time to make it look slightly less humiliating. (That’s probably just as well. We wouldn’t want our arch-enemies/new best friends to be too demoralized going into our, I mean their, big game against Washington State!)

Needless to say, the game was, as they say here in Southern California, hella awesome. USC jumped out to an early lead — and when I say “early,” I mean we were ahead by seven points 16 seconds into the game — and never looked back.

At the start of the first quarter, the Trojans won the coin toss and elected to kick. Good decision, since UCLA’s genius kickoff returner promptly fumbled, giving USC the ball at the Bruin 34 yard line. Should-be Heisman Trophy winner Carson Palmer wasted no time: on the game’s first play from scrimmage, he threw a beautiful 34-yard touchdown pass to Kareem Kelly. Trojans 7, Bruins 0, 14:44 left in the first quarter.

Many Trojan-Bruin games have been decided on the last play; this one, arguably, was decided on the first play. UCLA never seemed to recover from the shock of falling behind so quickly and dramatically. Before five minutes were gone, USC led 14-0. Before ten minutes had been played, Trojans were up 21-0. This was never a close game.


With USC leading 52-7, a Trojan fan mockingly imitates the Bruins’ favorite anti-USC gag, the waving of the car keys (to suggest we’re just a bunch of rich kids).

UCLA cut it to 21-7 early in the second quarter, but USC increased its edge to 28-7 four minutes before halftime, the first seven of what would be 31 unanswered points. The Trojans were ahead 52-7 before UCLA finally scored again, with 2:47 left in the game. By that point, needless to say, USC’s garbage-time squad was on the field, consisting of various freshmen, walk-ons, and quite possibly a few band members and cheerleaders. The Bruins scored once more with a minute to go; hence the 52-21 final score.

It was perhaps the most fun I’ve ever had at a USC football game — the only competition being the 1999 UCLA game at the Coliseum, after which we stormed the field in celebration of the Trojans’ first win over the Bruins since 1990. (USC is now a perfect 4-0 against UCLA since I enrolled here.) Today, for my first-ever trip to the Rose Bowl, I went with Becky’s ex-roommate Rachel and three other friends, Nicole, Steven, and Jen. We had a blast.


Steven, Rachel, Nicole, Jen, and me.

For a whole big gallery of photos — and videos!!! — from the game, click here! (You can also view photos and videos from the big pre-game bonfire on the USC campus Thursday night!)

Now, about those bowl scenarios…

Washington, my ex-roommate Dave’s school and, ahem, my new favorite team, gave USC a huge assist this evening by beating Washington State, previously undefeated in the Pac-10, 29-26 in triple overtime. The end of the game was a bit controversial; click here to hear an MP3 sound recording of the call from the Washington State football radio station on the game’s wild final play.

But anyway, that doesn’t matter to us. What matters is this: Washington State is now 6-1 in the conference with one game left. USC is 7-1, and done with its conference schedule. Unfortunately, because our one conference loss was to — you guessed it — Washington State, we lose the tiebreaker if they finish 7-1 also. So that means they need to lose again for us to win the conference title. Hence our newfound love for UCLA.

The Cougars-Bruins game is at the Rose Bowl on Dec. 7, so hopefully the Bruins will have recovered their psychological strength after today’s devastating loss and will be able to pull off the upset at home. If not, it’s hello, Holiday Bowl for USC… unless we are invited to a BCS bowl, which remains a distinct possibility if we beat Notre Dame next weekend. (Although, it is also distinctly possible that the Orange/Sugar Bowl bastards will give Notre Dame the at-large spot even if we beat them, just because the Irish will attract a bigger crowd and thus put more money in the bowl’s coffers. More on that here.)

One more thing before I stop wasting time posting to my website. :) I was wondering: at 9-2 and ranked #8 in the BCS standings, does USC still have a mathematically possible outside shot at the national championship? Well, let’s see…

Ohio State won today, 14-9 over Michigan, finishing its undefeated regular season and clinching a spot in the national-championship Fiesta Bowl. That means there’s only one open spot left in the title game. Miami, also undefeated at the moment, is the odds-on favorite to get it. But if the Hurricanes were to lose both of their next two games (against Syracuse Nov. 30 and Virginia Tech Dec. 7), they’d be a two-loss team just like the Trojans (assuming, of course, that USC beats Notre Dame next weekend, which is obviously necessary for any of this to be relevant). Because Miami’s “strength of schedule” rating is so much lower than the Trojans’ (whose schedule is ranked the toughest in the country), a two-loss USC would almost certainly be ranked ahead of a two-loss Miami.

So what about the other teams? #3 Washington State now has two losses, so they should tumble in the polls, and could certainly wind up behind the Trojans — definitely so if they lose to UCLA. #4 Oklahoma has only one loss, but two tough games left — against Oklahoma State Nov. 30 and Colorado Dec. 7. Lose one, and the Trojans might leapfrog them. Lose both, and the Trojans definitely move ahead of ’em. Next is #5 Georgia, another one-loss team; the Bulldogs have only one game left, Nov. 30 against Georgia Tech, so we definitely gotta root for those Yellow Jackets. #6 Notre Dame is no problem; if we beat them, we’ll move ahead of them in the standings.

But what about #7 Iowa? The Hawkeyes may be our biggest problem. Iowa has only one loss, and they’re already done with their season. If all of the above happened, would the computers and the pollsters pick a two-loss USC over a one-loss Iowa for the #2 spot and the Fiesta Bowl berth? The computers might; USC’s strength of schedule is much better, and Iowa is probably about to lose its “quality win” points (because Michigan looks to call out of the BCS Top 10), whereas USC might conceivably gain a “quality win” if Colorado (whom we crushed earlier in the season) wins its last two and moves into the Top 10. But the pollsters could be harder to convince. Iowa is presently ranked more than two places higher in the human polls than it is in the computer polls — that is to say, the voters seem predisposed to like the Hawkeyes — and the voters would love to create an Iowa-Ohio State championship game, since that would settle the big unanswered question in the Big Ten (the Buckeyes and Hawkeyes never met this year, and both finished undefeated in the conference). Moreover, if UCLA fails to pull the upset over Washington State, USC would have the pariah status of not being a conference champ, something the voters don’t like, as last year’s Nebraska fiasco proved.

So, more likely than not, it seems to me that the best USC could finish, even if Miami and all these other teams suddenly fell apart, would be #3 in the BCS poll, giving us an automatic “at large” BCS bowl berth even if we don’t win the conference, but no shot at the title game. (Although, if Iowa were to beat Ohio State unconvincingly in the Fiesta Bowl while USC crushed its bowl opponent, AP voters might conceivably award the Trojans a split championship. But now we’re definitely getting ahead of ourselves.)

But anything is possible; computers and voters are both hard to predict, especially when you’re dealing with such far-out hypotheticals. Trojan fans’ best hope is to root against Miami, Oklahoma, Georgia, and of course Washington State (Go Bruins! Go Bruins!), and also hope that Iowa’s nonconference opponents — Akron, Miami of Ohio, Iowa State and Utah State — lose a bunch of games, thus further hurting the Hawkeyes’ strength-of-schedule rating. (Good news on that front: Iowa State, the one team that beat Iowa this year, was stunned today by, of all schools, UConn! Yeah, here at USC, we love all teams called “Huskies”!) We should also root for the nonconference teams we played: Auburn, Colorado and Kansas State. (Good news there, too: they went 3-0 today, including Auburn’s big upset win over Alabama, which also serves to take away quality-win points from Oklahoma and Georgia, as Alabama will now fall out of the Top 10. Hooray!)

Okay, enough pontifficating on college football. I’m pretty sure I recall a certain darling girl named Becky requesting that I wash some dishes. :)

UPDATE, 11/24/02 1:16 AM: Further research has revealed that Akron, Miami, Iowa State, Auburn, and Kansas State are all done with their seasons. But we can still root for Middle Tennessee State against Utah State next weekend… and, of course, for Colorado (our best hope for quality-win points) against Nebraska on Friday and, most importantly of all, against Oklahoma on Dec. 7. It also wouldn’t hurt if, just for kicks, Alabama lost to Hawaii next weekend and Texas lost to Texas A&M.

UPDATE, 11/24/02 1:49 PM: The new sportswriters’ poll and the new coaches’ poll both have USC ranked #6 in the country, behind Iowa, Oklahoma and Georgia. (The AP has Oklahoma #3 and Iowa #4; the Coaches have Iowa #3 and Oklahoma #4. Both have Georgia #5.) Washington State dropped from #3 in both polls to #9 in both — which, I have to say, really isn’t fair… they’re still a really good team who just happened to lose in triple-overtime to an archrival last night. Maybe the coaches and writers are punishing the Cougars for the fact that their star quarterback, Jason Gesser, was injured, and his status is uncertain for the rest of the season, clouding the Cougars’ bowl prospects. That wouldn’t really be fair either, but whatever. It helps the Trojans, so I ain’t complaining. Anyway, the new BCS rankings won’t come out until tomorrow, but they will probably be pretty much the same on the top six teams, except Notre Dame (#7 in both polls) might be ahead of USC, putting the Trojans seventh. If so, USC will have a chance to deal with that next weekend. It’s also worth noting that all four of the Trojans’ nonconference opponents are now ranked in the Top 25: Notre Dame (#7), Kansas State (#8), Colorado (#13 in the AP and #15 in the Coaches), Auburn (#20 in the AP and #25 in the Coaches).

UPDATE, 11/24/02 4:44 PM: Click here for a photo gallery from the USC-UCLA game!

UPDATE, 11/24/02 10:02 PM: The East Coast Bias slowly subsides — CNNSI now has USC quarterback Carson Palmer ranked #4 on its Heisman Watch, and says he is one of five serious contenders for the trophy. Meanwhile, East Coast Bias is unheard of at The New York Times, where the computer ratings continue to rank USC #3 in the country. In fact, the Times computer almost puts the Trojans ahead of undefeated Ohio State! Miami has a perfect 1.000 rating, Ohio State is second with 0.974, and USC is just .004 points behind, with 0.970. For comparison, Georgia is a distant fourth with 0.918. I wonder… if USC beats Notre Dame, will it move ahead of Ohio State in the Times ratings?

Beat the Bruins!

Saturday, November 23rd, 2002

It’s Rivalry Day in college football, and that can only mean one thing: it’s time for the Trojans to beat the Bruins! Today’s USC-UCLA game is the biggest in years, and certainly the biggest since I’ve been here.

If the Trojans win, they move closer to a possible BCS bowl berth; if the Bruins win, they improve their bowl standing significantly… and both teams need to win to stay alive for the Pac-10 championship (although both also need help from Washington for that).

In the eight years before I came to USC — from when I was in fifth grade through my senior year in high school — UCLA won eight games in a row against the Trojans. Now USC has won three straight, and with a win today, would move to 4-0 against the Bruins during my tenure as a student here.

GO TROJANS!!!!!!!

“Down with beauty”

Thursday, November 21st, 2002

If this doesn’t convince you that radical Islamist extremism has no place in modern society, I can’t help you. Forgive me for being politically incorrect, but honestly, what’s wrong with these people?

Bush = Sauron?

Thursday, November 21st, 2002

“Ari Fleischer is a Ringwraith.”

More meteors

Thursday, November 21st, 2002

I’ve got more videos and photos from Tuesday morning’s Leonid meteor shower!

At right is an animated GIF clip of a meteor that was sighted at 2:26 AM. Click here for the AVI version of the movie, which shows a much wider view than the narrow strip at right.

Below are two still images of meteors — the first at 2:19 AM, the second at 2:26 (the same meteor as the one shown in the movie at right).



And here’s another animated GIF, this one showing a meteor just to the right of Jupiter:

I hope to add still more meteor shots, plus a photo gallery from Becky’s and my drive to and from Joshua Tree National Park, in the coming days. Stay tuned!

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Thursday, November 21st, 2002


Becky sticks out her tongue at Toby on Wednesday night, Nov. 20. Click here for an updated gallery of photos of Toby from this semester.

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Thursday, November 21st, 2002


Two girls chat while listening to a band play at the USC Peace and Conflict Scholars’ anti-war rally at McCarthy Quad on Nov. 20. Click here for a complete gallery of photos of the rally!