That THUD you heard last night was euphoria jumping out the window and crashing on the streets of San Francisco or Westwood. Most USC fans were pleased as punch at last night's turn of events in the Emerald Bowl. Personally, I was ambivalent, I was in NYC having dinner with a customer, a Michigan grad no less, and I completely forgot about the game until I got into the car for the drive home. Having watched the last 8:00 of the game I can honestly say that my emotions were the same as when I got into the car. Ambivalent.
- SC was owned by Coach Walker on December 2nd yet he, Walker, couldn't get the Bruin Defense to step up like they did against SC against a far less superior team in FSU in last night's game. He was going up against a lame duck OC in Jeff Bowden who was only doing it for pride and for daddy Bowden.
- Coach Bowden and the FSU Football program may be washed up in some people's eyes but he found a way to dig down deep and motivate his team to perform. All the greats go through dry patches at some point in their career but the great ones always find a way to pick themselves up. Coach Bowden did just that last night.
- Credit where credit is due, the Bruins knew how important Dec. 2nd was and they found a way to win but it was all they had in the tank. That was their NC game, or about as close as they will get to one in the foreseeable future. That game was going to be their only shot at some semblance of recognition and they made the most of it. The same could be said of Oregon State.
My lack of interest was probably because I knew Dorrell would come out flat but I will admit that I also wanted them to lose because they are our rivals and I would not have liked if they would have won last night and kept that momentum going into the off season. You never know what a team can do with that type of feather in their cap. Displaced Trojan had a great post up yesterday on his rooting, or lack there of, for other Pac 10 teams. It's a good read; I'm not sure where I fall in that argument, it will depend on my mood I guess.
So why is this important? Well, like I said it's about the bigger picture.
Monday's game against Michigan can go either way. Both teams had their shot at the NC game; though SC let it slip away while UM was screwed by the system. Some have said that either one of these teams could act like they could care less since they missed out o the bigger prize. I wouldn't bet on it, both teams don't want to go 0-3 in their last three games in Pasadena. Both teams have prominence places on the national stage and a win on Monday will do wonders for recruiting. Recruiting has been shown to be even more competitive than actually playing the game so there is a lot at stake.
The team from across town can certainly lay claim to owning the City of L.A. for the next 11 months but I have a hard time seeing how they will capitalize on it. We often hear fans from all sorts of teams say ...I don't care if we lose all of our games as long as we beat our rival... that's not the SC way; we want to win them all. If you're a Bruin fan than you just got your wish the question is what will you do with it now?
Winning the battle of L.A. is only the first step in achieving the bigger goal, without it you can't get to the next level. Sure, seeing the Bruins lose, to me, is a bit frustrating on some levels, mostly because we let them take the NC game from our grasp. But some would say that if UCLA did that to us and then stumbled what will Michigan do with stakes being higher? I don't have an answer for that but that is why coach's coach and fans watch.
As the old cliché goes, I'm just happy to be here.