Trojans survive Upset Saturday carnage

USC survives, 27-24. Phew.

Good effort, Huskies. Way to hang in there till the end and make a game of it. As for the Trojans, it’s nice to see that we can still win while playing like we’re sleepwalking, committing 843 penalties for 458,629 yards (or something like that), and generally looking kinda crappy. But this sort of effort won’t cut it when we travel to Oregon, Cal and Arizona State.

Meanwhile, Auburn stunned Florida, 20-17, hitting a last-second field goal to win it. Wow.

The #4 Gators join #3 Oklahoma, #5 West Virginia, #7 Texas and #10 Rutgers as losers this weekend. Again, wow. Check out next week’s likely Top 4:

1. USC or LSU
2. LSU or USC
3. Cal
4. Ohio State

Holy hell!

If Florida beats LSU next week, and the Trojans and Bears win out through October and the first week of November, the Cal-USC game on November 10 could be #1 vs. #2!!!

By the way, let the record show that I was the first person who labelled today “Upset Saturday.” And that was at 2:02 PM, before any of the day’s Top 10 losses! :)

P.S. Auburn’s win over Florida isn’t just big for Auburn. It’s huge for Big East co-leader South Florida, which knocked off Auburn on the Tigers’ home field two weeks ago. It was starting to look like USF’s win over Auburn was going to lose some of its lustre, but not anymore!

If the Bulls can run the table in the Big East, they can present themselves as serious national-title contenders. Imagine the following scenario: USC wins out and finishes #1. Florida recovers from tonight’s loss, knocks off LSU next week, wins out and captures the SEC crown. The Big Ten, ACC and Big 12 don’t produce any undefeated teams. South Florida, however, wins the Big East at 12-0. So… who is USC’s opponent in the BCS title game? Florida, the SEC champion and defending national champ, can make a case for itself at 12-1… but what about USF? They’d be 12-0, Big East champs, and with a win over the team that beat Florida. Seems to me, the proper matchup in that scenario would be Trojans vs. Bulls.

Of course, that exact scenario probably won’t happen, but in any conceivable scenario, it’s very good news for USF that Auburn picked up this victory, and it’d be even better news if the Tigers seize on this win and really turn around their season.

Needless to say, any national-title talk is a long way off — and personally, I doubt USF will win out. Based on watching them play, I don’t actually think they’re all that good. But it’s still fun to speculate about such things. :) A more immediate question is where the Bulls will be ranked next week. They were #18 this week, but the combination of their win over West Virginia with Auburn’s win over Florida, plus all the other upset losses, should allow them to move up significantly.

If I had a vote, here’s what I think my ballot would look like, off the top of my head:

1. LSU
2. USC
3. Cal
4. Ohio State
5. Kentucky
6. Boston College
7. South Florida
8. Wisconsin
9. Florida
10. Oklahoma

P.P.S. The Terrific Twenty-Three is down to a Fantastic Fifteen: Boston College from the ACC; Kansas and Missouri from the Big 12; Cincinnati, South Florida and UConn from the Big East; Purdue, Ohio State and Wisconsin from the Big Ten; Arizona State, Cal and USC from the Pac-10; Kentucky and LSU from the SEC; and Hawaii from the WAC. And with three of the four participants in next Saturday’s supposed Games of the Century (OU-Texas, LSU-Florida) suffering losses today, the only unbeaten-vs.-unbeaten matchup next week is Ohio State at Purdue.

P.P.P.S. If anybody’s wondering why I still haven’t posted the pick ’em contest standings… I’ve misplaced the spreadsheet that I need to calculate ’em. It must be on one of my external drives. I’ll try to find it tomorrow. :) Sorry!

31 Responses to “Trojans survive Upset Saturday carnage”

  1. Jim Hu says:

    So… how far do the various former top 10 teams drop? Who’s 5-10?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Cue Sandy Underpants creaming his jeans over Ty Willingham in 5…4…3..

  3. Scientizzle says:

    If I had an AP ballot:

    #1.LSU

    #2.USC

    #3.Cal

    #4.Ohio State

    #5.Kentucky

    #6.Florida

    #7.Oklahoma

    #8.Oregon

    #9.Texas

    #10.Boston College

    #11.South Florida

    #12.Hawaii

    #13.Arizona State (assuming they win…)

    #14.West Viginia

    #15.Texas

    #16.Cincinnati (assuming they win…)

    #17.Wisconsin

    #18.South Carolina

    #19.Georgia

    #20.Rutgers

    #21.Clemson

    #22.UCLA

    #23.Nebraska

    #24.Missouri

    #25.Viginia Tech

  4. Anonymous says:

    Florida lost?

    Whew. I’m glad Notre Dame didn’t get Urban Meyer.

    Oh wait.

  5. Jim Hu says:

    Scientizzle, you have Texas twice.

  6. Brendan Loy says:

    Perhaps he meant to rank Texas Tech #15, so impressed was he by their 75-7 win over Division I-AA Northwestern State. :)

  7. Scientizzle says:

    It’s true…I love Texas!

    D’Oh!

    Lemme figure out where I screwed up…

  8. Scientizzle says:

    This is the reason I’m not an AP voter… (besides, you know, the fact that I don’t work in journalism…)

    The #15 version of Texas should be deleted. Everyone else should move up 1 spot & #25 should be Illinois.

    Brendan, feel free to edit my post so I no longer look like a jackass. :)

  9. gahrie says:

    Upset Saturday indeed.

    3 losses in the top 5, 2 to unranked teams.

    5 losses in the top ten, four to unranked teams.

    7 losses in the top 13, 5 to unranked teams.

    9 losses among the 24 teams in the top 25 that played (Missouri had a bye), 7 to unranked teams.

  10. Sandy Creamjeans says:

    I don’t know why I’d be excited about Ty Willingham. Just because he’s come closer to beating USC with UW than Charlie Weis has come coaching Notre Dame is nothing to be excited over. As for the rankings this week, how could anyone make sense of it all?

    1. USC

    2. LSU

    3. Cal

    4. USF

    5. Ohio St.

    6. Kentucky

    7. Boston College

    8. ASU

    9. Hawaii

    10.Oregon

    What a ridiculous top 10 we have. Who would have ever thought the biggest BCS spoiler for LSU would be USF, but they may end up in the title game since they play the tougher schedule.

  11. Les Miles says:

    But…but..

    The SEC is really hard!

    So is Tulane!

  12. JD says:

    South Florida? In the BCS?

    These are strange and frightening times.

  13. Mike's brother Matt says:

    Umm, Brendan, it’s Kentucky and LSU in the SEC who are undefeated. And Sandy, how can you come up with USF having a harder schedule than LSU? Looking at Saragin, LSU’s 38th and USF’s 93rd for SOS. Now, I’m presuming that that’s taking the entire season’s schedule into account, as I’d say the games so far are roughly equivalent. However, LSU’s next four games are Florida, Kentucky, Auburn, and Alabama. Just a touch harder than Florida Atlantic, Central Florida, Rutgers, and UConn. I like USF, but the only quality teams they face the rest of the way are Rutgers, Cincinnati, and possibly Louisville if they get their act together. LSU had the fours mentioned above, a likely conference championship game, and possibly Arkansas, because at this point, who the hell knows if they’re a good team that isn’t quite to the level of Bama and Kentucky, or a middling team that can stomp bad teams but doesn’t have the ability to run with the big ones.

  14. Sandy Underpants says:

    USC vs. USF, BCS Championship, could finally produce the elusive playoff tourney all fans have been asking for since Texas won that bogus national championship back in the 60s before getting blasted by ND in the Cotton Bowl.

  15. Jim Hu says:

    I thought the #9 was the mistake and the #15 was what you meant.

    Texas at #9? 20 pts. At home. To a team you don’t have in your top 25.

  16. Brendan Loy says:

    Oops, thanks for the correction, Matt. No disrespect intended to LSU. :) Fixed now.

  17. Sandy Underpants says:

    I’m glad you asked, Mike’s Brother. I’m not sure who’s determining SOS for the BCS, but I know it’s more than one source. Surely they take into consideration the fact that LSU plays only 4 road games and let’s face it, the Superdome vs. Tulane counted as one of them, so that’s not a real difficult schedule. Secondly, they schedule as many I-AA teams and non-BCS conference opponents as they can get away with for their OoC schedule. And finally there are actually more over-rated, undeserving, cupcake padded, push-overs in the Big East now than the SEC, which is damn near a miracle. And somehow USF who will have victories over ranked WV, Louisville, Rutgers, Cincy, and Auburn will actually appear to the computers to be a virtual powerhouse, one so over-rated they will make the 2003 Sooners look like legit contenders.

  18. Scientizzle says:

    Jim,

    To be honest, I’ve had a fair number of adult beverages…

    And Texas would be believable as the #9 or #15 team of any poll, really (or anywhere in the 8-18 range). It looks like they just got beat largely because they were looking ahead to a bigger game. They haven’t been too impressive, but the raw athleticism of Texas is something of which to be wary.

    I’m totally happy to be proven wrong in the near future (not a big ‘horn fan}…

  19. GNB says:

    wow out top 5 is very similar..I have BC at 5

    but a #1 ‘SC and a #2 Cal game will be so f-ing awesome. Almost like last years OSU v UM game. One team will play for the National Title and the other for the Rose Bowl. Let’s hope Cal smells Roses while ‘SC is brushing off the Sugar

  20. Mike's brother Matt says:

    Okay, let’s take this apart one by one. First, LSU has five road games on the season: Mississippi State, Tulane, Kentucky, Alabama, and Ole Miss. Granted, only Kentucky and Alabama are actually good, but still. Second, there isn’t a 1-AA team on the schedule this year. Third, the ACC may have fallen apart, but Virginia Tech is still BCS. Fourth, South Florida’s only decent non-conference game is Auburn. Fifth, Rutgers and Cincy aren’t going to stay highly ranked, and the computers don’t take into account what the rankings were at the time of the game, only what the ranking are now.

    Look, I think USF will win the Big East. I’d venture they’d win the ACC, and based on today’s performances the Big 12 and maybe even the Big 10 wouldn’t be out of the question, presuming that at some point Wisconsin’s luck will run out. But there’s no way they jump an undefeated LSU in the polls, and the total lack of a defense on the part of Louisville and Rutgers looking more like a flash in the pan than a quality team will destroy the Bulls strength of schedule.

  21. AO says:

    It was 827 penalties – get it right!

  22. Trisha says:

    It is interesting to see who y’all put in the top 25. While Purdue was ranked 26th in their poll (based on votes) last week, and won yesterday, none of you have them in the top 25 for this week. Teams like UCLA, who, last week, didn’t get but about half the votes Purdue did, made it in.

    Interesting…

  23. Mad Max, Esquire says:

    1. USC could have been upset Saturday if Washington’s punt return guy had learned how to say “Fair Catch” when the ball is coming at him mid-field and he is surrounded by Trojans. I’m not into blaming losses like this on one person, but that was pretty much a game changer.

    2. The ranking misery we are seeing this year with USF (similar to what we have seen in previous years with Rutgers, Boise State, Louisville) once again underscores the fact that the BCS is a total bunch of B.S. The NCAA really needs to consider turning the major bowl games into a play-off system.

  24. Brendan Loy says:

    Trisha, are you advocating the ranking method that says everybody should simply “bump” teams up or down from their rankings the week before, “rewarding” or “punishing” them for wins and losses, but otherwise not taking a fresh look at them each week? Are you saying it’s a good thing for poll voters to be beholden to what last week’s rankings said? I personally think that’s one of the WORST things about the way pollsters tend to rank teams. So I think it’s entirely appropriate to not bump Purdue into the Top 25, based on the way they played Saturday against one of the worst teams in college football. They failed to take advantage of endless opportunities in the first half to put the game beyond reach, and then they almost puckered away their lead in the second half. Perhaps Purdue is better than they looked Saturday (admittedly I haven’t watched them play before), but judging based on that game, there’s no way I’d put them in my Top 25.

  25. jc says:

    I’d hate to be the team that loses to ND this year…

  26. Trisha says:

    No, Brendan, that’s not what I’m saying. Here is what I am saying: Everyone seems to be in agreement that Wisconsin belongs in the top five, yet they haven’t really played anybody this year, either and they nearly lost to a “mediocre” MSU team. One could make the same argument that OSU hasn’t really played anybody this year, either, but they are also solidly considered in the top five. Why is that???

    Do I think Purdue is better than you think they are, especially considering yesterday was the first time you’d watched them play? Yes. Do I think ND was as bad yesterday as you all think they were? No.

  27. Brendan Loy says:

    Okay, Trisha. I was just responding to what you said before about the polls, and how it was “interesting” that people were bumping teams like UCLA ahead of Purdue, etc. Anyway, obviously if we’re talking about subjective assessments of a team’s strength, that’s… well… subjective. I stand by my opinion of Purdue and of Notre Dame, based on what I’ve seen of both. As for comparing Purdue to OSU and Wisconsin, well, Wisconsin travelled to Seattle and beat Washington in fairly impressive fashion, which, while not exactly an enormously high-quality win, is still better than anything Purdue can boast to date. Purdue’s best road win to date is at Toledo (or at Minnesota, but that’s one that OSU shares). And Wisconsin won at UNLV, a quality mid-major, and beat Washington State. Neither the Badgers or the Buckeyes have had what I’d call killer schedules, but they’re still more impressive than Purdue’s. However, if your point is that OSU and Wisconsin are benefitting from preseason expectations, I’ll concede that point. At this point in the season, that’s pretty much inevitable. Luckily, we don’t crown a champion after Week 5. :) If Purdue beats Ohio State next week and wins at Michigan the following week, and STILL isn’t getting any love in the polls, THEN you’ll have a really good case. For now, though, while I concede that there is room to disagree over the Boilermakers’ proper place in the polls, I don’t think you can exactly say it’s some sort of great outrage that a lot of people aren’t giving the Boilers much respect yet.

  28. Brendan Loy says:

    P.S. I could make the same arguments you’re making about UConn, which, like Purdue, is 5-0 (and unlike Purdue, is unranked). I have a soft spot for the Huskies, being from Connecticut and all. But I really can’t fault the pollsters for not giving the Huskies love, because they haven’t beaten anybody good yet. At the same time, I recognize that Rutgers, as of a week ago, hadn’t played anybody good, and was ranked in the Top 10, on the basis of preseason expectations. Is that fair? Well, no, I suppose not, but what are the pollsters supposed to do? Engage in the farce of pretending to believe that UConn and Purdue and Kansas and Hawaii are really Top 10 teams? It’s an inevitable fact of the way college football works that, if you’re an unrespected team coming into the season, you need quality wins to get the pollsters’ attention. If you don’t have the opportunity to get quality wins at any point during the season (e.g., a mid-major who can’t get anybody to schedule them), then you’ve got a real beef. But if you’re in a BCS conference, those opportunities will come; you just have to be patient. If, when those opportunities come, you take advantage of them, and you STILL don’t rise in the polls, then you’ve got a real gripe. And that happens sometimes. But until it happens, the complaints aren’t all that significant, IMHO. And I think the pollsters usually do their best to respect teams that have earned it. Look at South Florida — they jumped all the way from #18 to #6 in the AP poll this week, and that isn’t entirely the result of attrition by higher-ranked teams; the pollsters also leapfrogged them ahead of a bunch of teams that hadn’t lost last week, because the combination of the win over West Virginia and Auburn’s win over Florida caused them to re-evaluate USF’s body of work and realize, “Hey, these guys deserve a higher ranking than we thought they did!” If Purdue wins its next two games, I suspect the same thing will happen. I also strongly suspect Purdue won’t win its next two games. :) But I’ll happily concede that I was wrong if it happens. God knows I love to see Michigan and Ohio State lose!

  29. Trisha says:

    No, I certainly wasn’t saying that it was some great outrage that the Boilers aren’t getting respect. I’m used to it as a Purdue fan. And, quite frankly, we play better when people aren’t paying attention to us. I just thought that it was interesting that a bit earlier we had had a discussion about SOS, and schools like Purdue playing nobody teams when I didn’t really think that Wisc and OSU had very tough SOS’s, either.

    Certainly Purdue’s win over Toledo at Toledo was probably the only game worth mentioning this year so far. Especially in light of the fact that the commentators for that game said that Toledo was one of the hardest places to come into and play and actually win when you aren’t the home team (not to mention how handedly Purdue won). Do I think Purdue is a top ten team? No, and I wasn’t advocating for that. I don’t think I could make a case for Purdue having been a top ten team in the last 10 years other than, perhaps, the 2000-2001 year where Brees led us to the Rose Bowl. I really have no problem with the voters for each poll and where they have placed the respective teams (though I think perhaps the USA Today poll should have had LSU ahead of USC, but I digress). As coaches, they certainly know more about the inner workings of the games than I, as a fan, do. I was merely making an observation based on your readers and their responses, and stating what my observation was.