I've been pretty honest that I am not a fan of preseason hype. Preseason rankings should be held back until the 3rd week of the season to a let a few things shake out and to get a true feel on how the teams are stacking up against their competition. I think it is easy to point to some of SC's flaws from last year and see where we needed some improvement. There were times that it felt like we struggled in almost every game and either needed some last minute heroics to secure some wins. Of course every team has their detractors so it is only natural that you will see some off the wall articles running against the conventional wisdom that sometimes permeates the sport.
Then there are articles like this. I'm not quite sure what the writers point is but it is certainly not a constructive piece, the is some facts within this screed but the way at which they are laid out makes SC look like the equivalent of Stanford after their 2006 season being ranked #1 for 2007.
He rolls right out of the blocks with this gem:
Wait, there were a lot of questions about SC going into 2006 and the only reason they even got a sniff by the media was because they were come off a tough loss in a game for the ages and the MSM, like it or not, wanted to see them continue on this great run. Sure Mack Brown and Texas were the flavor of the month but there was very little talk about Texas repeating and it went nonexistent when VY headed to the NFL. With all the fire power that SC lost going into 2006 knowledgeable CFB fans knew that SC would have some drop off and yet they were in the hunt for another MNC right up until the ucla debacle.
He says this about the game against Wazzu:
The score at halftime was 14-12, Trojans. The Cougs' last score was a 10-yard TD pass from Alex Brink to Dwight Tardy with 4:18 left to go in the game, and USC's defense was on the ropes.
On the ropes?? He's kidding right?
Wins, regardless of beauty are wins...PERIOD. SC had some difficulty with the WSU offense but the got the plays when it counted and if the opposing team misfires like UW did on the final drive. That's just the way it goes not team is going to be dominant on every play and with all the injuries that SC had I think they played pretty well and no one was picking them to go to the MNC but they were right there in it until Dec. 2nd.
Knucklehead goes on to describe the various close calls that SC had and he thinks Cal lost the game more than we won it, OK, but how's that our problem a win is a win. I would agree that ND is overrated but we won...again so what more do you want. Simply put everyone thought that tOSU was THE team to beat yet they had some holes and the Gators exploited them so no team is 100% dominant. The bruins rose up and beat SC and that win put them on the map but it doesn't mean they are world beaters, so his logic in this piece is a little off.
About that loss to ucla:
Lets get one thing straight, McNeal's "pick" was a tip then a pick. It wasn't like Booty threw it right to him, McNeal made a great play in order to intercept the ball. The other things that come to mind are SC's tough schedule prior to that game, quite simply they looked ahead and took ucla lightly. The loss to the gutties hardly defined USC's season like the win defined ucla's. they quickly squandered that momentum with their loss to FSU.
Then there is shot at Booty:
Couple Booty's overratedness with the Trojans' harsh '07 schedule, and USC stands a possible chance at not even winning the PAC-10 title. The defense will probably be fine, but USC is an offensive team. Without that, it stands to lose.
Hmmm, lets see. No shit Sherlock! So Booty sits on the bench behind two Heisman trophy winners and finally gets his chance to run the show in his Junior year. He doesn't have the benefit of having Bush and White in the backfield. His top receiver is injured once during fall practice who then separates his shoulder leaving Booty only one top experienced receiver and some untested talent and yet they manage to win the games that he is saying makes SC look overrated.
And of course my favorite - and this is truly red meat for the Trojan haters out there...<cough>...BN...<cough>...
They deserve being in the top 10, no doubt -- sixth or seventh. Boise State, LSU, and maybe Louisville and Wisconsin most definitely deserve to be ranked ahead of USC. It'll all play out beginning in September.
The MSM loves a great story and USC has been it for the last few years. They are part of college football lore and when they are on top they are the news. Michigan and Notre Dame would get the same treatment if they were doing what USC is doing. Some teams just get the press others only hope to. The fact is the MSM loved them too much in 2005 and it became a joke.
I would ask the writer this, who would you put at pre-season #1? Certainly not UF they have lost too much while SC has a lot of talent returning and a ton of top talent coming in. I'm not quite sure what the point of the article was other than probably just trying to get noticed by going against the conventional wisdom.
Well, you succeeded and you got your 15 minutes of fame pal. Hope you enjoy it.