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Closing the book on Emerald Bowl

I am not sure what peoples expectations were for this game.

I said if SC came out fired up that they should win this game. If they came out disinterested it would be close. I am pretty sure that most knowledgeable fans knew that BC was going to have a tough time beating SC no matter what.

With all the distractions of Joe McKnight and the season as a whole swirling around SC went out and did their thing. It wasn't all that pretty but it was a win. Matt Barkley's 350 passing yards and three TD's along Stanley Havili's outstanding performance and Damian Williams 189 receiving yards showed that the passing game, when clicking, can get the job done.

Not having McKnight available featured Allen Bradford but you could see that the running game just wasn't getting it done. That is an issue for the offensive line to address. Bradford did get some solid runs but the overall running game was sporadic. Pat Ruel has his work cut out for him in the coming months.

The defense still has issues with penetration on the DL. Their Sack and TFL production really dropped off in the second half of the season. The LB's for all all their "speed" are not not making plays. They either can't shed blocks or they have poor tackling technique. One bright spot was Shareece Wright getting the game changing INT, though I will admit I was not thrilled that he was getting a chance to play after leaving the team hanging by not being eligible for the regular season. The defense did shut down BC in the second half by not allowing any points but the one BC pass play for a TD really exposed SC's deficiencies. BC's first TD I could accept, this D line is not what had last year so I can see how BC could move the pile...I mean we saw it all year.

As for has been a great ride.

Pete Carroll addresses it here...

USC coach Pete Carroll does not have any face-to-face meetings set up with draft-eligible underclassmen next week because coaches and players are off and school is not in session. But Carroll said he would make himself available to anyone who wanted to discuss their decision, and he indicated he would reach out to receiver Damian Williams.

Williams, a junior transfer, is coming off a career-best 12-catch, 189-yard performance in the Emerald Bowl. He said after the game that he was flying home to Arkansas to discuss his future with his family. He already has finished the classes needed to get his degree.

“He had a fantastic season,” Carroll said. “I love the fact that he’s graduated. He’s evaluating what’s important to him right now.

“He’s handled it beautifully, and he’s positioned himself now to make a clear choice. It just depends on the factors they weigh.”

Carroll said draft consultant Joe Mendes has been made available to Williams. “That’s all under way,” Carroll said. “Everything’s in motion.”

Uh...He's gone! No question about it.

Not for nothing but Barkley tried to make a case for him to stay...

Matt Barkley tried to convince Damian Williams to return for his senior season after the game, especially after USC fans chanted, ``one more year'' to Williams after the game.

``I second that. He's had such a great season. I was just trusting him (on the deep plays) to go get the ball and make the play.''

Williams said he would return to Arkansas with his family today. He's already informed friends he would turn pro.

Williams will go down as one of my favorite Trojans in the PC era. There is no question that he has earned all of our well wishes. He owes us nothing. No trouble, no complaining...just production!

Let me address the two questionable calls in the game. Many BC fans think the got jobbed. The first call is easy there is no other camera angle showing whether or not D-Will had control of the ball when he went out of bounds. We all know the rules...there has to be definitive proof. Because of how the stadium is set up there was no camera angle for them to use and without it how does one expect to have conclusive evidence to overturn the call? If this were in a true football stadium they would have cameras everywhere and thus they would have had multiple angles to review the play.

As for the second call, that one is a little more tricky. I understand the rule used to make the call. DJ was clearly being tied up in a block when the ball touched him and think that is the spirit of the rule otherwise you can just block guys into every punt and recover the ball. D-Will was signaling for everyone to get away from the ball but if you look carefully the BC player is grabbing DJ's jersey preventing him from breaking contact and getting away from the ball. Because DJ was engaged and could not clear out he was hit by the ball. The rule worked as designed.

More importantly, as long as there is human element in these games there are going to be questionable calls. SC has been on the wrong end of many poor calls this season so it evens out. Them's the breaks...

I am not sure what people were expecting from this game. Two weeks off to prepare for a second tier bowl game was not going to cure all the ills of this team from this past season. Matt Barkley wasn't all of a sudden going get better in not locking onto his receivers. The interior lines on both sides of the ball weren't all of a sudden going to turn into NFL caliber units. That USC came out fired up was relief. We have seen teams just shut it down at the end of the season when they are disinterested...I was worried about that.

There are a lot of questions still to be answered as the off season gets started.

I will close the book on the season with some general observations later today.