This might be a bit of a rehash from one of my post over the weekend but the article in question caught my after I wrote my other piece...
A funny thing happened on one article's way to the SI.com copy editor....
Austin Murphy must have been up against a deadline because his piece from Friday seems like a bit much after yesterday's string of upsets. The sky is falling! The sky is falling!
USC will be accused of taking Oregon State lightly. Those accusations will be false. The Trojans will tell you that they prepare for each opponent with the same focus and intensity. It doesn't matter who we're playing, they can be counted on to repeat. We prepare the same way.
I'm sure, in their minds, they do. It is the Davids in these situations -- Oregon State and UCLA two years ago; Stanford last season; the Beavers again last night -- who are transformed, who play over their heads, as if possessed, against Goliath 'SC. The guys in the orange jerseys in Reser Stadium were simply not the same overmatched Beavers who got drilled 45-14 at Penn State on Sept. 6.
Fine, just as long as you smack Florida down as hard as you want SC to be smacked down. It is curious to me that games from previous years have that much relevance in how writers look at teams in the current season. It would appear that SC does have a pattern of losing to certain in conference foes but there's a statute of limitations on previous losses; I think that only the most recent loss should be the measuring stick. Murphy is more than entitled to his opinion, as long as he uses the same measuring stick to beat on Florida, Georgia, or even Wisconsin.
Look, SC is not off the hook for their terrible performance on Thursday. Far from it. They have a lot to show me (and everyone else who care about college football) in the coming weeks if they expect to get to a major bowl game, but when compared to say Florida's loss AT HOME to Ole Miss, a team that went 0-8 in the SEC last year, or UGA's loss AT HOME to a surging Alabama who scored only one TD against lowly Tulane just a few short weeks ago, it's time writers take second look at all the outrage they started spewing after Thursdays tough loss. Had Murphy waited 48 hours to post this piece I would bet you that it would have looked much different.
Murphy points to Oregon St. getting blasted AT Happy Valley. But while I have much respect for the Nittany Lions, if you look at their schedule they have only played one game on the road, and of the 5 games they have played only Oregon St. and Illinois can be considered quality opponents. Oregon St. is not a mediocre team. They always seem to get 9-10 wins on the season and they are tough in their bowl games.
Equally, we hear all the time about how great Urban Meyer is, and how much talent he has amassed, and how he is the class of the SEC. That's fine, but how do you explain his loss to Michigan in their bowl game last season? How is it explained that his Heisman Trophy winning QB looked pretty pedestrian in the 3rd qtr. yesterday?
SC has some issues with some of our in conference foes and they do need to be addressed. It is also perfectly legitimate to call Pete Carroll and Staff out for those poor performances, but if you are going to do it make sure you call out other top teams using the same measuring stick when they wet the bed. I didn't agree with SC jumping to #1 after the UVA win, and while I thought that moving to #1 after the tOSU game was still a bit premature I did it begrudgingly in my BlogPoll ballot - even I got caught up in all the hype.
Listening to Herbstreit bash USC and then pump up Florida before their loss yesterday just goes to show that the pundits know just as much as the everyday fan. I listened to Corso say that Alabama was the best team in the land last night during his halftime analysis and I just shook my head and laughed...maybe in the first half but there was a still another half of football to be played... The Alabama that showed up in the 2nd half was pretty different than the one I saw play the first 30 minutes.
All the sunshine pumping that the MSM and pundits threw UCS's way - after only two games - reminded me a lot of all the financial speculators whose mess the country is now in the process of cleaning up: you can pump up and hype up the analysis any way you want, but when you're wrong, you can't hide it.
Again, SC does not get a free pass on that ugly loss on Thursday night, but SC wasn't the only one to throw up all over themselves this weekend. Will sportswriters and pundits get the mops, or just tiptoe around the puddles of puke?