After the win over Idaho many of us were scratching our heads as to where the spark was with this team. After all we saw Florida and LSU crush lesser opponents in their opening games and the SC faithful wanted a dominant win to back up all the hype. It has been noted elsewhere, numerous times, that SC wasn't going to be as dominant as they once were and that the loss of Norm Chow made this team not worthy of that hype.
When I read things like that I just shake my head, Norm Chow has been gone 3 years and while I have often thought what could have been, but it is in the past and it is time to move on. SC has done just fine since Chow left, could they have done better? Yes, if Chow stays we beat Texas, if Chow stays USC, not Florida plays for the BCS title game last January but it was not to be. No, even after Chow's departure SC has continued to be in the national conversation when it comes to going after a national championship. The players have changed, coaches have come and gone but SC continues to a major force in college football.
The voters saw fit to take votes away from SC because of their "performance" against Idaho and then going on a bye week. Fine but when you look at the other teams in the title hunt I see a Florida team that has yet to go on the road whose first 2 games were against cup cakes. I see an LSU team that has beaten an SEC bottom feeder on the road demolish an average at best VA Tech team and thrash another cupcake that is Middle Tennessee. Oklahoma has yet to go to the road they have beat 2 cupcakes and beat a rebuilding though still talented Miami team. I would agree that SC's "win" over Idaho lacked style but a win is a win. Those of us in the BlogPoll try our best to watch every game that we can so we can and make educated decisions on who should be where. I can pretty much guarantee that the a good number of MSM voters don't do that.
SC's win over Nebraska more than made up for any lack of style from the Idaho game. SC came out on the very first play and picked up 50 yards, 3 plays later they were up 7-0. SC et the tone early and while Nebraska made it interesting for a good portion of the 2nd quarter but SC adjusted and responded like the dominant team that all the hype has expected them to be. Yes Nebraska has a lot of questions on defense but if they were so bad why did the writers and coaches have them at #14 in the polls? Everyone wanted SC to make a statement and make one they did.
Defensive linemen Lawrence Jackson and Sedrick Ellis and linebackers Keith Rivers and Rey Maualuga beat the Cornhuskers off the ball and to the gaps. Running backs Stafon Johnson, C.J. Gable and fullback Stanley Havili outran pursuit, though gigantic holes courtesy of the offensive line often gave them a huge head start.
They are more than deserving of the #1 spot in the polls.
The question is now that they have given you what you want will you now switch your votes in favor of LSU back to USC?
As far as things go on the field I wouldn't say it's perfect but I would say that they are going pretty good. I think Booty's Heisman chances I think have diminished but I'm not the expert there so I will let others discuss that.
The running back situation is coming along though playing time is still the big issue and you can't keep everyone happy. Stafon Johnson seems to be the guy. Watching this game reminded me of the great USC running attack of yester-year.
This, boys and girls, is what McKay's teams did to opponents a generation ago. They opened holes big enough for bulldozers, then sent greyhounds through them. They introduced terms such as "Student Body Left" and "three-time national champions" into the college football lexicon.
Asked whether he had decided to bring Student Body Left back to USC, McKay -- no, wait, it was current head coach Pete Carroll -- smiled and said, "If we have to. Whatever it takes."
Playing the role of former Trojans great and College Football Hall of Famer Anthony Davis was sophomore Stafon Johnson, who finally looked worth the hype of his 2006 recruitment. Johnson rushed for 144 yards and a touchdown on only 11 carries. On a team with so many tailbacks that it listed five on the two-deep lineup card, Johnson established himself.
"I'm still a role player," Johnson insisted. "Whenever they call my name, I got to be ready at all times. I'm not really worried about who's the man. I really don't care as long as we get a victory."
McKnight still isn't comfortable with the offense but that will all come in time. CJ gable is grumbling a bit but we all know how much of a competitor he is so I'm not sure I would read into that too much.
On the receiving side things aren't going as crisp as I would like. Turner dropped some easy passes and if he expects to the next Jarrett or Smith he needs to hang on to the ball better. Ausberry seems to fitting well but he is not quite there yet and Hazelton like Turner needs to be more aggressive, the catch against Idaho was awesome but you can't make a career off of just one catch. RoJo is a freshman so I'm not expecting much out of him until he gets more comfortable with the offense. Fred Davis is in a great position to be a leader and a teacher with the youngsters and he will get a lot of touches.
The offensive and defensive lines seem to be solidified based on their performances on Saturday, I am pretty happy there as I am with the linebackers. The secondary was picked apart underneath and shows how bad we miss Pinkard. We to work on that and get fixed quick.
Special teams were atrocious with two fumbles that we were lucky to recover, even Pete Carroll was disappointed.
So, it,s on to Washington St.