I hit the television last night in just enough time to catch Utah's rally against Oregon State. Aside from wondering how it was that the Utes' defense managed to stop the Beavers when it really counted, it made me think that there's potentially an epidemiological explanation for Oregon State's collapse at the last minute: an outbreak of transitive flop sweat.
With this hypothesis, I propose that Ohio State arrived in Los Angeles as a carrier of transitive flop sweat. There are two main properties of transitive flop sweat: firstly, it results in getting beaten in a game for which you should have been competitive at a minimum, and second, it transfers to the winning team so that they botch their next game.
Obviously USC contracted a serious case of transitive flop sweat, as demonstrated in Corvallis - no need to revisit that, as the case history is well documented.
It appears that USC was able to transmit the transitive flop sweat to Oregon State however. While the Beavers' case was mild and late breaking, that could be explained by their relatively healthy conditions in Corvallis, where there is a lower level of ass-sunshining and plenty of fresh air. (And ready access to veterinary -grade meds, not that I'm implying anything or anything...) But late-breaking or not, the fact is, there was a little eau de flop hanging around the Beavers after they were this close to bringing down another ranked team.
The next test of this hypothesis will be Utah's game against Wyoming - although with the best will in the world, I don't know if that's going to be enough of a test to see if there's been a hand-off from Oregon State as opposed to showing if Wyoming is an antidote.