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Reflections on the End of Regulation

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I remember way back in August when all of the pre-season previews had been published and all the yearly magazines had already hit the shelves and there were just a couple short weeks until college football season would begin. I remember the so called quarterback competition, the mumblings over the dissappointment of our receiving corps, but most of all I remember all of the hype for the apocalyptic game of the century against Ohio State. I also remember how cool it was to finally see college football on TV again as it had seemed like a small eternity since football had been on TV. In fact, even before the first kickoff had been kicked, the USC Trojans had already won 4 consecutive National Championships on the Xbox in NCAA Football 2009.

For SC fans the season could not have begun any better than it did against UVA. It seemed like USC was invincible and 55-7 vaulted them into the #1 ranking. Two short weeks later the Trojans crushed, absolutely CRUSHED, Ohio State and suddenly Southern California had no peer and an unobstructed path to the BCS National Championship Game lead by a QB who was suddenly one of the leading Heisman candidates. Then another two weeks passed and SC's fortunes had pulled a complete 180 after a stunning loss to Oregon State, and suddenly the Trojans were on the outside looking in. Luckily the team kept its composure and beat up Oregon 44-10 the following week and rode the nation's most dominant defense to a nine game winning streak to close out the season with another Pac 10 championship despite a few tight games.

In the coming weeks we are going to here a lot about various bowl matchups, and we are going to hear nigh endless speculation on the inevitable Florida-Oklahoma title game. We may also hear a lot about how this or that team (including USC) got slighted and has just as much of a right to play in the championship. With all due respect to the MSM though, this kind of thing is endlessly stupid, and it would be even dumber for any fans, especially SC fans, to pay attention to it. After the BCS poll is released today and the various bowls are set in place it simply does not matter any more what anyone thinks about whether this team belongs here or that team should go there or whatever should be the case. After all the talk about how CFB has the most meaningful regular season it is undeniably ironic that so much is written that serves to devalue a teams season by either denigrating a teams bowl or bowl opponent, or by what wondering what could have been.

So let's take a step back and appreciate the success we have had under Pete Carroll, both this year and for his career. SC now has seven straight 11 win seasons, the longest sustained streak of success ever, and as fans we are able to look forward to great football nearly every week. In January the Trojans will play in their 33rd Rose Bowl against an excellent opponent in Penn State, and despite what anyone in the local media may say, USC should feel honored to get to play there and uphold the schools tradition of winning in the Granddaddy of them all. Ultimately the BCS is a completely arbitrary and abstract system of selecting a national champion, and if USC can put on a show against PSU and leave the players and fans feeling like champions then that is all that really matters.