UCLA 13, USC 9

It was requested that I post the final score, so there it is. Here’s the article. And here’s a photo:

I hate UCLA.

A few random, disjointed thoughts:

• Wow. Great game by the Bruin defense. Amazing job. Hats off to them.

• Along those same lines, I clearly underestimated UCLA when I criticized Notre Dame for not playing well against them. That defense is very good when they play up to their potential. If they were consistently as good as they played tonight, they’d be a damn good team.

• All that said: John David Booty, WTF? 23/39 for 272 yards doesn’t look awful, but there were some horrible decisions and throws in there.

• Mike Tran owns me.

• Speaking of which, yes, I will fulfill the terms of the bet, obviously. Stay tuned. Seeing me try to fit into Mike’s medium sweatshirt should be entertaining.

• You think Karl Dorrell might keep his job?

• Is it just me, or did some USC player almost catch that Hail Mary pass? And it just me, or did he have a pretty decent chance of running it in, if he had caught it? Man, that would have been the most awesome thing in the history of the world if it had happened.

• It didn’t happen, though.

• People who are happy about UCLA’s win, in order of happiness: 1. UCLA fans; 2. Michigan fans; 3. Florida fans; 4. CBS executives. I’m guessing the ratings for Arkansas-Florida tripled when the clock hit 0:00 in Pasadena.

• If Florida wins, I think they should go to Glendale ahead of Michigan. The Wolverines already had a chance against Ohio State, and based on their resumes, Michigan isn’t clearly more deserving than Florida. (Remember, it isn’t who’s better, it’s who’s more deserving.) Between two teams that are approximately equally deserving, I think the fact that Michigan already had a shot at Ohio State should be the tiebreaker.

• That said: GO ARKANSAS!!! I want the Razorbacks and Nebraska to win, so that USC will have beaten three BCS-bound teams this season. Also, I want USC to play LSU in the Rose Bowl, not Michigan. A matchup between the Trojans and the Wolverines would be a rematch of the 2004 Rose Bowl, and not just any rematch, but a pale shadow of that game, when a national title was on the line. On the other hand, a matchup between the Trojans and the Tigers would be fun. Obviously, it wouldn’t settle anything, football-wise, regarding the 2003-04 championship debate — but after the way USC and LSU fans have been sniping at each other for the last three years, it would be awesome for the fans to actually have that game.

• Notre Dame just clinched a spot in the Sugar Bowl. The notion of the Rose Bowl choosing an ND-Michigan rematch wasn’t totally implausible; the notion of them choosing an ND-USC rematch, I have to think, is.

• Wow. I can’t believe we lost to UCLA.

• Come to think of it, this is the first time I’ve ever seen USC lose to UCLA. I wasn’t a USC fan until I went to college there, and my freshman year was the first year in the 7-year winning streak.

• At least Gonzaga won.

• And yet, somehow, that doesn’t really make me feel better.

• I said weeks ago — not sure if I said it on the blog, but I know I said it aloud to several people — that, looking ahead to USC’s brutal last four games in consecutive weeks against Oregon, Cal, Notre Dame and UCLA, the team I was most worried about was Cal, and the team I was second-most worried about was UCLA. Why? Because while Cal was the only team with the talent to hang with USC if both teams played their best, I was more worried about USC not playing its best against UCLA than I was about USC not playing its best against Notre Dame. It was always going to be tough to win at the Rose Bowl against UCLA after playing such an intense stretch of games. A letdown was always a serious worry. And it happened. Of course, it wouldn’t have mattered if UCLA’s defense hadn’t played its best game of the season.

• Did I mention I hate UCLA?

• Dammit.

19 Responses to “UCLA 13, USC 9”

  1. Mike T says:

    Yes. I do own you.

  2. Patrick Cooper says:

    Brendan, no offense, but that USC WR had no chance to, if he caught the hail mary, to run it in for a TD. Wishful thinking.

  3. Joe says:

    Yup, CBS is loving the outcome – I certainly turned to the SEC Championship after the game (and had not cared a whit about it before that point).

  4. Brendan Loy says:

    No offense taken, Patrick. Obviously I only got a really quick look at it, as it happened very quickly. It just seemed like there were several UCLA defenders behind him and that he had a relatively open field, but I could be totally wrong. I’d love to see a replay of it.

  5. Joe says:

    Quick correction – I did care about the SEC game – I wanted Florida to lose – but right now with 2 minutes left don’t look like that’ll happen.

  6. Matt says:

    Go Gators… give them the chance they have earned to play OSU…

  7. Patrick Cooper says:

    Brendan, as much as we have disagreed on things, you’ve had a good attitude about it. Like the Bear said, You ain’t never been nothin’ but a winner. Plus, your teams have fared better than mine.
    Props to you.

  8. David K. says:

    Congrats to Mike and all Bruin fans, you earned todays victory. Now go have some fun in the Emerald Bowl ;-) (says the Husky fan whose team is spending the season at home…)

  9. Yeah, I am one of those disgrunted LSU fans. Look forward to the matchup, to settle the unfinished item from 2003. I hope we play USC, and not Michigan. John David Booty is from Louisiana, and we would love to sack him :) I honestly think the Gators deserve to be in the game at Arizona, just because they are SEC. But Michigan got shafted too early, USC should have been #2 after this UCLA game, if they had won, (of course!) and not before.

    Ohio vs Michigan — Glendale
    USC vs LSU — Rose
    Gators vs Irish — Sugar (Irish don’t look BCS bowl worthy at all)
    Wake Forest vs ?

  10. Brian Foster says:

    “If Florida wins, I think they should go to Glendale ahead of Michigan. The Wolverines already had a chance against Ohio State, and based on their resumes, Michigan isn’t clearly more deserving than Florida. (Remember, it isn’t who’s better, it’s who’s more deserving.) Between two teams that are approximately equally deserving, I think the fact that Michigan already had a shot at Ohio State should be the tiebreaker.”

    As I’ve already indicated elsewhere, if the choice is Michigan-Florida, I don’t see how you (anybody, not just Brendan) can justify going with Florida.

    First of all, “it isn’t who’s better, it’s who’s more deserving,” is a false dichotomy. How do we determine who’s more deserving? By looking at who’s better. So that pretty much falls by the wayside. We could say that UCLA “deserves” it because they just knocked off USC, who would have gone if they had won. That’s how it works in boxing, right? Defeat the guy and take his place until you get beat.

    Or we could (as I’ve argued in other places here) say Boise State is the most deserving because, just like OSU, they haven’t lost yet. If the whole point is to arrive at one undisputed undefeated champion, we only have two contenders who could possibly qualify, so let ’em play.

    But nobody really thinks UCLA is the most deserving, despite their efforts against USC today. And nobody (well, almost nobody) thinks Boise State is deserving, despite their undefeated record.

    And why not?

    Because there are other teams who are better.

    As to Michigan and Florida — I agree that it’s awfully difficult to look at their records, opponents, performances, etc., and determine who is better (that is to say, who is more deserving) in anything approaching an objective sense. Sure, we need a tiebreaker.

    But how does it make any sense to use as the tiebreaker the fact that Michigan “already had a shot at Ohio State”?

    Think about that for a minute. What that effectively says is, ANY team on the #1-ranked team’s regular-season schedule is disqualified from being in the championship game. We’re retroactively declaring that 12 teams are incapable of being the second-best team in the country, simply because they happened to commit five or six years ago (or decades ago in the case of some conference play) to have a game against the team that turned out to finish the season #1.

    That is such an arbitrary distinction that it makes even less sense than picking the champion by means of a poll.

    What if, instead of playing Arkansas, USC had played (and lost to) OSU back in September? And then USC had beaten Orgeon State, and UCLA, to finish with 1 loss, to #1 and undefeated Ohio State?

    Are you willing to say that USC “already had a shot at Ohio State” and therefore is less deserving?

    And if you think September v. November should make a differnece here, I refer you once again to the arbitrary distinctions being made. I realize that generally speaking, an early loss will fade from memory and a team can recover from that by the end of the season — even if they really shouldn’t (see, e.g., Notre Dame). But when we’re talking about a game like UM-OSU, a traditional end-of-season rivalry game that more often than not is the de facto Big Ten Championship Game, and it is widely hailed as an Instant Classic (and yes I recognize that term gets bandied about way too often these days), and the game was close, and could have gone either way in the final minutes, and the voters and computers and everybody realize it was a sufficiently good game not to really knock Michigan down in the way that they often illogically do when lower-ranked teams lose to higher-ranked teams (and as I predicted would happen), there is good reason to discount the recency of the loss.

    But that paragraph should be dicta, since you’re not citing the *timing* of Michigan’s shot — you’re just saying they *had* a shot, and that’s enough to disqualify them.

    As I said on another thread this evening, Michigan remained #2 after their loss to OSU, and the collection of games in the following two weekends has demonstrated that no team has been able to show that they are more deserving of that slot than Michigan. USC arguably did so last week (although I disagree — beating ND just isn’t that big a deal), but they lost their claim this week. As for Florida, regardless of what Urban Meyer thinks, they were on the outside looking in a few weeks ago, and barely getting by Vanderbilt and South Carolina before beating up on a 1-AA opponent in preparation for a surprisingly close win over Florida State before playing a and winning a decent game over Arkansas simply isn’t enough to justify a jump to #2, when there’s already a team who dominated throughout the season, who won every game by a TD or more (no one-point squeakers here), and whose only loss is surely of significantly greater quality. (3-point loss to #1 on the road compared to 10-point loss to then #11 on the road)

    Finally, as to the quality of wins v. quality of losses argument, it seems to me that when we’re talking about this handful of truly top teams, it is indeed the quality of losses that should matter more. It should be pretty easy for Michigan and Florida and USC and other similar teams to win most of the games on their schedule. Given that most teams are playing confernece schedules (and those that aren’t, like ND, don’t have a lot of choice in who they can schedule because the rest are in conference), it doesn’t make much sense to fault one team for only playing two ranked opponents when some other team has played four — UNLESS the first team lost to both ranked opponents while the second team went 3-1 in those games.

    Or to put it a different way, we expect good teams, especially the two most deserving teams who will go the championship game, to beat pretty much everybody on their schedule. There’s the cupcake teams that they have no business playing, let alone losing to. There’s the weak but respectable opponents which they almost always beat. Then there’s the midrange teams capable of the upset, but it rarely happens. And then there are the truly competitive games. If any team LOSES to a team in the first three categories, it’s major news. If they lose to a team in the last category, it’s not nearly so surprising. The distribution of opponents among the four categories does not, in and of itself, mean anything. A team that plays three games in each category, and loses one game in the “weak” category, is in my view demonstrably less deserving (i.e. not as good) than a team that plays four games in each of the two lower categories, two games in the “upset” category, and one game in the “competitive” category, and its only loss is in a competitive game. (This is a simplification, of course — margin of victory and quality of play obviously have a lot going on here.) The fact that Team A played more “competitive” games doesn’t mean anything, because they lost to an inferior team, whereas Team B lost to a competitive one.

    All that said, that was my argument for why Michigan deserved the game over USC. :) Clearly I need to adjust it a bit for Florida, but I think I already addressed their circumstances above.

    In sum: false dichotomy, silly tiebreaker, Michigan deserves to go.

    REMATCH = JUSTICE

    And just to be clear — I say all this despite hating Michigan. It pains me to have to admit that Michigan is both the (second-)best and more deserving team, but it is, in my view, objectively true. “Michigan already had a shot” is a meaningless, unfair, and arbitrary distinction to deny them the title game.

    I suppose I should get back to outlining.

  11. Brian Foster says:

    Clarification: Team B, described as:

    “a team that plays four games in each of the two lower categories, two games in the “upsetâ€? category, and one game in the “competitiveâ€? category, and its only loss is in a competitive game”

    actually played TWO games in the competitive category. Sorry ’bout that.

  12. David K. says:

    Ok, lets say instead of losing to Ohio State by 3 they lost to USC by 3. Now tell me that Florida is more deserving

  13. Brian Foster says:

    Wow, that’s a damn good point David, and much simpler than the hoops I was jumping through.

    And how perverse is that — lose a close game to #2 and you get a shot at #1. Lose a close game to #1 and you’re out.

    Ridiculous — that’s what this “Michigan had their shot” argument is.

  14. Andrew says:

    Ok, lets say instead of losing to Ohio State by 3 they lost to USC by 3. Now tell me that Florida is more deserving.

    But that’s not the case. If that was the case, sure, I would probably choose Michigan over Florida. I know you want to pretend we live in a hypothetical world, but so long as we don’t have a playoff system, we ought to do everything possible to avoid rematches in college football.

    What if, instead of playing Arkansas, USC had played (and lost to) OSU back in September? And then USC had beaten Orgeon State, and UCLA, to finish with 1 loss, to #1 and undefeated Ohio State?

    Are you willing to say that USC “already had a shot at Ohio State� and therefore is less deserving?

    Absolutely! If our only loss this year was to the Buckeyes instead of the Beavers, we should not get a shot at a rematch — no matter what the computers and pollsters think — so long as there is another worthy one-loss team.

    Finally, as to the quality of wins v. quality of losses argument, it seems to me that when we’re talking about this handful of truly top teams, it is indeed the quality of losses that should matter more.

    Why? Why should Florida be punished because the #1 team didn’t happen to be on its schedule this year? Florida had a very tough road loss in which they didn’t allow an offensive touchdown to a very good team in a very competitive game; Michigan had a very tough road loss in emotional circumstances against a very good team in a very competitive game. It’s not Florida’s fault Auburn stumbled in two other games while Ohio State managed to finish unscathed. You have to take into account the whole body of work and, to the extent possible, give every team an equal chance to be the national champion. Michigan has had its chance to be the national champion. Why should they get two shots at the title while Florida gets none?

  15. kcatnd says:

    “Come to think of it, this is the first time I’ve ever seen USC lose to UCLA. I wasn’t a USC fan until I went to college there, and my freshman year was the first year in the 7-year winning streak.”

    Ah! You’ve been spoiled! Call yourself a TRUE fan now. This is the kind of stuff that makes later victories over a rival that much sweeter.

    Go Irish!

  16. anon says:

    LOL… Did I read that David K. is a Husky fan? If this means UW, and not NIU… Im LMAO over his tirades over Charlie Weis. Have fun with Ty the motivator.
    Seriously, you should not be allowed to argue anything against Weis from now on.

  17. Rebecca Loy says:

    Stupid UCLA.

  18. David K. says:

    Yes anon i am botha Husky (Washington) and Trojan fan, like Brendan i attended two schools (albiet for undergrad).

    The Ty debate has been had ad nauseum so i won’t get into it again.

    What makes no sense is your conclusion that i can’t argue that Weis isn’t the genius (yet) that he has been purported to be, and that Carroll has seen enough success to show that he is indeed a great coach. What that has to do with who coaches whatever team i am a fan of, again makes no sense. So much for that vaunted ND education I guess…

  19. john Y. says:

    all of you who said usc should of cougt the hell mary…well the didndnt so ucla won…and nortedame suck give ucla another chance and theyll whip them….