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The Unthinkable??

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TJ Simers in today's LA Timeshas an interesting take on this weekends game against UCLA. Simers has picked the Bruins to beat SC 24-17. Is it snark or is for real? Who knows, the press is always looking to stir up trouble and buck conventional wisdom. He also takes a little jab at Carroll's approach of always focusing on getting to the Rose Bowl and not the BCS Title game.

...In fact I've heard him {Carroll} repeatedly talk about how much the Rose Bowl means to him, how quickly he dismisses any BCS talk, while steering the conversation back to the Rose Bowl and what it means for USC to play in the granddaddy of them all.

I mentioned this Monday to Karl Dorrell, and I've got to tell you, UCLA's coach could not have been any more agreeable when I suggested, "Then let's give Pete what he really wants, and send him to the Rose Bowl."

"I'd love it," said Dorrell, and I think that's pretty darn thoughtful of the guy.

"If that happens, I'll hug you," Dorrell added, which makes me wonder what Carroll might do if Dorrell and I can make his dream come true and send the Trojans to the Rose Bowl.

I DON'T believe the Bruins have any intention of running up the score, so I've only got UCLA winning 24-17 Saturday.

Obviously, I like SC to win this game but as we saw in 2004 anything can happen. UCLA kept it close as SC got out of the Rose Bowl by the hair of their chinny-chin-chin. I am not concerned about what the press writes or what the betting line is. The only thing that matters is the game on the field and the final score. The mantra is the same as it was 3 weeks ago, win and you're in.

SC, after that terrible loss to Oregon St, has done just that- win. With the close games in the early part of the season SC had to find ways to hold off their opponents to squeak out those wins. The Oregon St. loss was exactly what the team needed; a kick in the teeth. I think its clear that the team refocused and stopped believing their own press and got down to business. I'm not one who has ever believed that any good comes out of losing anything but its hard to deny that in this case that is exactly what happened.

Simers makes some cute points in his article, ones that I believe he states just to stoke the fire of controversy.

THREE WEEKS ago, and now be honest, how many had UCLA beating Oregon State and winning on the road at Arizona State after losing four in a row?

In an odd way, Oregon State became the turning point for both USC and UCLA. Carroll said, "It was a wake-up call."

UCLA, meanwhile, beat the team that beat USC to start the "new season," for the Bruins, as Dorrell called it, urging his players to salvage the season and win their final three games.

One more, and they reach their goal, which apparently would also make Carroll's day -- sending the Trojans to the Rose Bowl. Then everyone goes home happy, and I get free breakfast next week.

Whatever.

The fact is teams will use whatever they can to get motivated for a big game. The examples are endless. There is a saying that I live by- I don't get paid for my methods, I get paid for my results. The same can be said here, though worded a bit differently, SC won't be rewarded for their methods but for their results. It's just that simple. Who wouldn't love another 66-19 trouncing like we saw last year? I would but I'm not counting on it. I want a win pure and simple, be it by 1 point or 100 points, I don't care. Others can worry about weather or not SC will stumble or be nervous as this game approaches. That's not me, Pete Carroll has shown me time and again that he will have his team ready to play and that's all that matters. Others can worry about a post ND let-down or how this rivalry can make this game unpredictable. I can understand that thought process, when you've beat like a drum over the years and you've lost all hope you'll grab at anything you can to try and get you through the dark days.

That's not my problem and it's not SC's either.