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 USA Today has an article by Jack Carey outlining USC's OOC. He has them ranked #1. Notre Dame is #3 using the Sagarin computer rankings.

USA TODAY has reconfigured the preseason coaches poll, using Jeff Sagarin's preseason computer ratings, and come up with the ranked teams facing the toughest non-conference schedules.

Southern California, which was tied for third in the coaches voting, comes out with the toughest non-league schedule, playing Arkansas, Nebraska and Notre Dame -- an average of 30 in terms of places in the Sagarin ratings.

The Fighting Irish's schedule is rated the second-hardest. Because Notre Dame is an independent , all 12 games on the Irish slate were factored in. They are tied with USC for third in the coaches poll.

Too bad they didn't use this in 2003 then we could have played LSU in the Sugar Bowl.

Scott Wolf of the Daily News has an article on Rey Maualuga. Rey has had to come a long way in order to overcome a lot since last year.

USC linebacker Rey Maualuga said he is only focused on football and winning a starting spot for the season opener against Arkansas.

Those are easy things to worry about compared to the drama of last year, when Maualuga dealt with just about everything but football as a freshman. He was arrested the week of the Stanford game for punching another student at a party. His father was incapacitated most of the season and died two days before the Rose Bowl.

And in between, he played football.

"I'm a lot more mature now," Maualuga said. "I've learned my lessons. I'm just here to play football."

Maualuga is competing against senior captain Oscar Lua at middle linebacker, and based on practice snaps, USC coaches would like him to start. But whether or not he wins the job, Maualuga said he is no longer battling his personal demons.

While his issues last year put the team in a bit of a bad light, he has done what he has needed to in order to put it behind him. We are a forgiving society that believes in second chances and he should be afforded the opportunity to make things right.

Dan Webber of the Press Enterprise has a story on Pete Carroll's secrecy in naming his starters for Saturday's opener in Arkansas.  

LOS ANGELES - USC will practice briefly this morning before flying to Fayetteville, Ark., in the afternoon.

But Pete Carroll wasn't about to kid anyone. Nothing major will be decided at today's practice. The evaluations have been completed, and the results are in for the four or five positions where the starting spot was still in doubt for Saturday's opener at Arkansas.

"There's no way of going any further (in the evaluation process)," Carroll said after practice Wednesday.

But there was one more thing to do, Carroll said: "Telling the kids before I tell you."

Starters had yet to be announced from the middle linebacker duel between senior Oscar Lua and sophomore Rey Maualuga, the kickoff contest between David Buehler and Troy Van Blarcom, or the rest of the close calls at tailback, receiver and defensive tackle.

Lua (6-foot-1, 245 pounds), who has been sharing first-team snaps with Maualuga (6-3, 248 pounds), said he was confident it wouldn't go the way the quarterback battle did at Arizona State, where Coach Dirk Koetter reversed field on his starter.

"Coach Carroll is smarter than that," Lua said. "He won't announce anything that way."

But so far, Carroll has said nothing, Lua said.

Well, it's not surprising. Coach Carroll will huddle with his coaches and make the final decisions in due time.

Sometimes I wonder if the press just throws pieces together in order to hit the deadline. Articles like this only show why the sharp commentary and analysis of the blogosphere is here to stay. It also plays right into the argument that CFR makes on weak OOC schedueing. Just unreal.

Most of the time, it seemed as if the Trojans were playing a different style of football than their Pac-10 colleagues, a very un-Pac-10 style of football. In other words, the Trojans were actually good at running the ball and playing defense.

While the SEC had 14 teams rank in the top 10 in total defense from 2002-05, the Pac-10 only had three: the 2002 and 2004 USC teams and Oregon State in 2003. The Pac-10 also had only three teams in the top-10 rush offense rankings the last four seasons: USC and Cal in 2005 and Cal in 2004.

So what happens when a swarming defense and gut-pounding offense from another conference face off against pass-oriented, not-so-hot defensive teams from the West Coast?

Please, it looks like two different arguments. I can see how you can question teams in a head to head match up. But when you say in the side bar that "A good conference has multiple teams in the race for a national title, not just one." That's just crap with the weak OOC schedule that is a constant problem in the SEC.