Cavalcade of Whimsy: USC's Time To Shine
Posted Oct 30, 2012

What happens if USC actually shows up and starts beating the big teams?

Cavalcade of Whimsy

College Football For the Handsome

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So Far ...
- Oct. 9, Part 1 - The two stars of the first half of the season 
- Part 2 - The Big Dumb Calls For The Second Half   
- Oct. 16, Part 1 -  The Big Play For Notre Dame 
- Part 2 - The Under The Radar Players You Should Know
- Oct. 23, Part 1 -  Is Collin Klein worth the hype?
This Week
- Part 2 - Breaking down the conference races

Sorry if this column sucks, it's not my fault … "Folks, let me say this loud and clear. Notre Dame, like this column, is relevant again."

But if you're worried, Oregon or Notre Dame, remember the words of Justin Bieber, whose concert I was forced to attend last week. "Everything is going to be, uh, okay." ... There's a very, very real possibility that USC will pull a Georgia and start to play up to its talent level just in time to screw everything up.

Florida was playing better than Georgia all year, and there was no analytical reason to pick the Bulldogs last week outside of the unquantifiable idea that they were going to start to try harder. No one questioned their skill and athleticism, and everyone knew a big game was rumbling deep inside just waiting to bust out. Now it's up to USC to see if it can do the same thing, shed the soft tag, and use emotion and fire to rally the troops.

Could USC start to play better now that most of the pressure is off? Is this the type of team that needs to be loose and in an us-against-the-world underdog role? If the Trojans can come up with a win over Oregon this week and Notre Dame at home in the regular season finale – two possibilities that aren't that unrealistic for a team this talented and explosive – then, America, brace for your worst nightmare.

SEC vs. SEC for the BCS championship.

I'm sorry, Kansas State. I love your team. I love the way it plays. I love your team because it does everything right, and no one is doing more with less than Bill Snyder, but you're Kansas State. At some point the formula won't work and the dream will fizzle with Oklahoma State, TCU, Baylor and Texas all dangerous enough to throw the Iowa State-over-Oklahoma State curveball into the Big 12 season.

If USC turns into the USC we've all been waiting for in time to drop the Ducks and the Irish, then the Alabama-LSU winner will go to the SEC championship. If Kansas State and Oregon each have a loss, and if Georgia is 11-1, then the SEC title winner will play in the BCS championship no matter what. Florida will beat a one-loss Florida State team that could be in the top five by gametime, meaning the computers will be in love, and …

Florida vs. the SEC champion in the BCS championship, which wouldn't be so bad if it's the Tide vs. the Gators, since the two didn't play, but would be a big bag of yuck if the BCS system puts the Dawgs or Tigers in for a rematch Will Muschamp's club.

So for all of you who keep wondering what to root for when trying to analyze the BCS formula and the rankings, if you're an SEC die-hard, get those Trojan pom-poms out. If you want something different, you want the chalk.

When you turn one of the worst programs in college football history into a powerhouse, you can wear whatever you want ... Bill Snyder should be coach of the year on wardrobe alone. You have to respect a head coach who's not afraid to rock the turtleneck while wearing a free jacket supplied by your 2012 Cotton Bowl.

"Anyway, I think I'd be a great class president. So, who wants to eat chiminichangas next year? Not me. See, with me it will be summer all year long. Vote for Summer." ... I'm having a big flaming problem with all forms of media right now focusing on the wrong things. The fascinating presidential race is all about the Electoral College, Electoral College and Electoral College. The only aspect of the entire thing that actually matters is the electoral map, but for some reason, much of the attention is paid to which candidate has the overall lead. One poll has Romney +3, another has Obama +2, another has them even – it doesn't matter. The popular vote is irrelevant, but Ohio might mean everything.

Only slightly less important is the BCS race, with no one seemingly able to interpret the rankings correctly. While Kansas State is being called the No. 2 team, because it is according to the current rankings, it's all about the human polls, human polls and human polls. The computers are going to even themselves out by the end of the season – the SEC champion is going to take over the No. 1 spot - and 13-0 Oregon won't be behind far enough by the wires and chips for a 12-0 Kansas State or 12-0 Notre Dame to slip into the top two. Duck fans, as long as your team is ranked second by the Harris and Coaches' polls, it's going to play for the national championship.

And then Charlie Strong goes to Arkansas, Bobby Petrino comes back to Louisville, and the machine will keep on going ... What if Louisville goes 12-0 and it's one of two unbeaten teams left standing? Arguing against a Boise State or a TCU in past years was easy, but UofL plays in a BCS league, even if it's the Khloé of the lot.

If the Cards go unbeaten, the best win will come against … North Carolina? Rutgers? Cincinnati? No one will want to see a Louisville vs. Alabama/Oregon/Kansas State/Notre Dame BCS championship, but four teams in the top nine are guaranteed to lose, and the computers don't despise the No. 10 Cardinals, so could it happen if there are a slew of big losses down the stretch? If it doesn't, that would mean Louisville would be the first unbeaten BCS conference team in the BCS era to be shoved aside for a one-loss team for a spot in the championship.

As if you weren't inspired by the first Bieber quote. Not a Belieber yet? Auburn, if you believe, you can be anything you want – "like a doctor … or a dancer." ... Auburn is going to go 3-9 in one of the ugliest and most embarrassing seasons ever for a program two years removed from a national championship, but I'm here to bring the hope for you Tiger fans.

The 2010 Florida recruiting class.

In 2010, Urban Meyer sold a bill of goods to a recruiting class so good that some recruitniks were calling it one of the best in the last 25 years. Several of the five-star types never panned out, and this year's team is still waiting for the crown jewel, Ronald Powell, to get healthy again, but the class formed the base of a maturing team that's putting together a whale of a season with players like Matt Elam and Sharrif Floyd forming the base of the great defense.

A year after winning it all, Auburn loaded up in a 2011 recruiting class ranked second by behind Florida State. Remember, as everyone says on Signing Day, recruiting classes can't be judged until a few years in, and it still might take another season or two for the talent that Gene Chizik amassed to produce.

"Bobby's our best high kicker. Careful, don't let the Rockettes find out about him!" ... What does Ohio State get if it wins the Leaders division? A trophy! Yes, in case you didn't find the 2011 LSU SEC Championship t-shirts sad enough, Ohio State will be given a trophy from the Big Ten – along with oranges, a juice box, and a round of 2-4-6-8 appreciating from the opponents – for being on top of the standings despite being ineligible. Meanwhile, Wisconsin will end up actually playing for the Big Ten championship with a chance to go to the Rose Bowl because it wasn't naughty.

"Look, this thing with Phil is not etched in stone. I can jerk him along for the next month. Why don´t you use that time to give us your best shot Put in the hours. Dazzle me." ... Back when I first started doing all of this I used to get bombed with all sorts of fun trinkets, items and gimmicks from schools promoting their All-America candidates and their Heisman contenders. The economy has hit everyone hard with athletic departments cutting back on their promotions, and now I miss the days of the life-sized C.J. Spiller poster.

Where's the nod to the Ty-sman and the Ty Detmer neck-tie campaign with the Man-tie Te'o promotional neck garb? Where are the Optimus Klein or CK media blitzes? Where's the E.J. Manuel manual, a notebook to keep track of how great the Seminole quarterback is? How about Ohio State being self-aware and sending out gold pants trinkets with a No. 5 on them? Michigan is nuts to not be mailing out No. 16 shoelaces. Alabama should be putting A.J. McCarron on a media blitz like USC did with Carson Palmer in 2002. Let's go. I can be swayed by shiny objects.

"Ohh, a complete list of things I have seen or not seen is available on my blog. Your mother is on the not seen list, along with a Star Wars film that was only good since the first one. And even that has been ruined by CGI additions... Bravo, George" ... Worst … Heisman … Race … Ever.

I'm a huge Mant'i Teo fan, but if a defensive player is deep in the chase, your Heisman race sucks.

Now, next year is a different story. Assuming the top eligible NFL prospects aren't morons and they take off early, how is this for a chase? Ohio State's Braxton Miller, Oregon's Marcus Mariota and De'Anthony Thomas, Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel, Georgia's Todd Gurley, Arizona's Ka'Deem Carey, Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater, Wisconsin's James White, Nebraska's Taylor Martinez, Oklahoma's Blake Bell, Clemson's Tajh Boyd, USC's Marqise Lee and Alabama's A.J. McCarron will make it a stellar run.

"Help me... help you. Help me, help you." ... If Marcus Lattimore was allowed to have an agent who put up the money to protect his client with a supplemental insurance policy, to go along with whatever the NCAA disaster relief thing might provide, the nightmare situation would be far less horrendous. If superstar pro prospects are forced to stay in school because of a weird eligibility rule – or even if they just want to play college ball – then there's no reason whatsoever to not have sanctioned and licensed representation making sure that all the financial considerations are taken care of. 

The ranking is higher because of the orange pants... If Alabama is the BCS No. 1, Georgia No. 6, Florida No. 7, South Carolina No. 8 and Mississippi State No. 16, then Tennessee should be considered for a No. 17 ranking despite the 3-5 record. The Vols have to start being teams with a pulse, but the 0-5 SEC start isn't as bad as you might think.

And I'm pushing for the 2015 national championship – or at least one of the playoff games - to be played in my basement. However, unfortunately, the DVR isn't working properly. Replay will be a problem. … It's Week Ten of my shameless and impossible quest to be on the committee that helps pick the playoff teams two years from now. Why do I deserve a spot? I voted early. I got it done and I did my part. I encourage you to do the same unless you're planning on voting for the other guy.

This Week
- Part 2 - Breaking down the conference races