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"This USC Team is Different"

How many times have we heard that in the first few weeks of the season? The leadership is different, the talent is better and they just give you a different feel…..


I don’t know how many times I read that and I don’t know how many times I shook my head while saying to my to myself its way too early yet to be making those proclamations. We "heard" it from all the pundits on T.V. and "read" it in all sorts of publications. We have been burned by this before like in 2005 when the World Wide Leader proclaimed the 2005 Trojan team "the best ever" or whatever the heck they said.

As has been said a million times, these are 18-22 year old kids and all this hype and attention that we shower upon them might be a bit too much especially when they have barely got out of the gates in this young season.

Regardless of what has been said one thing is for sure as Ted Miller points out "this is not Pete Carroll’s USC best team."

This might be Pete Carroll's most talented team, but the 2004 squad that went unbeaten and won a second consecutive national title remains at the top for one reason: Winning is everything. As for 2008, no other team in the country features so many players with so much potential. But that doesn't mean squat when a team ends up on the unhappy side of the scoreboard. Remember how many times in the past USC futzed around in the first half only to come back with an overwhelming show of force in the second half? Recall USC trailing No. 14 Arizona State 21-3 at the break in 2005 and then rolling back for a 38-28 win? It looked like Mark Sanchez and company were going to duplicate that sort of reinvigorated steamrolling when they scored a pair of TDs to start the third quarter against the Beavers, but they couldn't muster that final push -- the one that marks great teams.


The only thing that matters right now is USC beating Oregon. Don't beat Oregon and we won't even win the Pac-10. All the talk about the BCS Title game before the Oregon St. game was very premature

Again, It doesn’t matter what we read in the paper or heard on the radio about complacency, loss of focus, or a lack of preparation it is clear that this team was guilty of all three.

Steve Bisheff has some interesting thoughts as well.

USC beat up on Ohio State, lapped up all the kudos and then sat down to worry what might transpire when it finishes its unbeaten season and Georgia or Oklahoma or somebody does likewise.

Well, the Trojans forgot there were still 10 more games on the schedule, and in the first one, plucky, unranked, 24-point underdog Oregon State and a tiny freshman tailback who was more slippery than a bar of soap embarrassed them in front of a National TV audience last night. The surreal 27-21 upset knocked them out of No. 1 and probably out of the BCS title race.

Let's not hear any "what ifs" about this one, either. USC was outplayed and outcoached by the Beavers and Mike Riley. They lost because they couldn't overcome what was easily the worst half of football of the Pete Carroll Era.

All you Trojan fans thought that Stanford loss was bad, huh? Well, this one was even worse. At least Carroll's guys led in that game. In this one, they were almost blown off the field in the first 30 minutes.

Harsh words, but it’s the truth.

I don't want to lament on this anymore but enough with all the talk. The 2004 team aside from going undefeated never had this problem and the offense was a lot better back then. There are so many other things to point to as well but the fact that the 2008 team lost a game is enough to end the discussion of comparison right then and there.

Its time for this team to put up a convincing win now that they have been punched in the mouth how ill they respond? Mark Sanchez seems to think that it won't take much.

Quarterback Mark Sanchez emerged from a team meeting Sunday night optimistic that USC can rebound from a defeat at Oregon State that looked a little less devastating three days later.

"Big picture-wise, we're still in good shape," Sanchez said. "I think this team is more than capable of bouncing back, and I think that's exactly what we're going to do."

Sanchez said every Trojan made mistakes during Thursday night's 27-21 loss to the Beavers, who came in as 26-point underdogs. But Sanchez said no one in the USC locker room is playing the blame game.

"People were pointing fingers right at themselves," said Sanchez, who pointed to his own late interception. "I told guys, 'It was a bad throw. I got picked off, and I killed us. I'm sorry.' Joe (McKnight) feels the same way. Defensive guys said the same thing. We're taking responsibility for it. We're not trying to pawn it off on somebody else. ... That ain't what we're about."

We are about to see just what this team is made of. They have spent all their capital of positive press after the Ohio State game. A nasty loss like the one on Thursday cashes in all that good will. Sure, SC still has a shot to make the title game after the carnage we saw this past weekend but it's way too early to even focus on that, though I got a kick out of Cowherd this morning smash a lot of preconceived notions...Take that SEC!!!

So we close the book on Oregon St. and we now focus on Oregon. SC has a lot of ground to make up in a lot of peoples eyes but most importantly their own.