Wednesday, December 31, 2003

The one team that has been overlooked in the BCS controversy has been perhaps the best team in the country right now, Michigan. Ranked only fourth after two early losses, the Wolverines have dominated since rallying late to beat Minnesota (a game played simultaneously to the third game of the NLCS, and four days before Steve Bartman would become a household name). This article makes the case for Michigan's claim to the national title, should they win on the morrow in Pasadena.

This week, however, Liane has the claim on an even more coveted award, the Condredge's Acolytes' Song Girl of the Week. The junior business major out of the Gamma Phi Beta sorority enjoys Harry Potter books, "spending quality time with family and friends, watching movies, working on different crafts, and baking delicious desserts," and attends USC "because of the incredible overall experience academically and socially. USC provides great opportunities to get involved in the community as well. It is clear that all students who attend USC have a strong sense of school pride." Regardless of who wins tomorrow, she is definitely number one this week. See ya at the Rose Bowl !!!

Holiday Bowl: Washington State 28, Texas 20 Continuing an impressive three-year run, the Cougars rallied in the second half to upset the fifth-ranked Longhorns, and in so doing, gained only their second-ever win against a Top-5 school. Sammy Moore put to rest what had been a disappointing season (no TD's since late September) with two scores and set up what proved to be the winning touchdown with a 51-yard punt return. Sadly, the Cougars lose 19 starters from a team that has had the best record in their conference the last three years.

Monday, December 29, 2003

Insight Bowl: CAL 52, Virginia Tech 49 In a see-saw battle where both schools blew two touchdown leads, the only team to beat USC in the regular season prevailed once again in the last seconds. The Bears played without star receiver Geoff MacArthur, but it hardly had an impact on sophomore QB Aaron Rodgers, who threw for two touchdowns and completed his first twelve passes in the third quarter, leading CAL to twenty-eight unanswered points. The Hokies again stumbled down the stretch, and the ineffectiveness of their defense proved costly in the second half.

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

PlainsCapital Fort Worth Bowl: Boise State 34, TCU 31 In the first post-season battle of Top-20 schools, the WAC champions rallied from a 21-7 deficit to knock off their hosts to win the inaugural match-up in Fort Worth. The Horned Frogs, ranked as high as sixth in the BCS rankings this season, saw a chance to tie the game in the final seconds go awry when a 50-yard field goal fell way short. The Broncos finish the season at 13-1.

Boise has been a particular favorite of West Coast football fans the past few years, with its blue home turf, its habit of knocking off Fresno State, and its annual wins at the Humanitarian Bowl, the only post-season game to be played in a frozen climate. This season, they lost but once, had one of the top quarterbacks in the country in Ryan Dinwiddie, and indirectly figured in the national title dispute; by beating Hawaii in the last game of the season, it might have insured LSU passing USC in the computer rankings by weakening the Trojans' strength of schedule.

And speading of SC (you knew I was going to find a segway), this week we honor Devon as our Song Girl of the Week. A junior majoring in Communications, with two years experience on the Squad, she aspires to a career as a lawyer (smart lady; she should consider bankruptcy law as a specialty). Her favorite film is Silence of the Lambs, and she enjoys Coldplay, Sex and the City, and chocolate chip cookies. She loves driving on the freeway with her favorite song on the radio, with no traffic (we can all dream), and her favorite Trojan of all time is the late Ricky Bell, a hero of my youth whose playing career was pretty much over by the time Devon was born. Lastly, she refers to the Squad's frequent non-game performances as "gigs".

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

The local jubilation that the Rose Bowl has an "old school" feel to it this year, with the Pac-10 champs playing their Big-10 counterparts, is ironic considering how that relationship began, back in 1946. At one time, the Rose Bowl usually pitted a Southern power against SC, UCLA or California, and the year the now-traditional match-up began, there was much bitterness about how the agreement prevented the school everyone wanted to play in Pasadena, Army, from meeting the Bruins. This article reveals how the writers of that time saw the arrangement to set West Coast and Midwestern powers against each other on New Year's Day was originally viewed as the "death knell" for the Rose Bowl. In reality, the decision to dump the ad hoc arrangement of inviting Alabama, Tennessee or Georgia, in favor of a formal arrangement to play Iowa, Michigan or Ohio State, simply reflected the demographic shift in white migration to Southern California in the early-20th Century; were the decision to be made today, the Tournament of Roses Committee would probably seek out the Big-12 champion.

Sunday, December 14, 2003

In a clear example of why the Heisman vote should entirely take place after the season ends, Jason White took home the statue, exactly one week after captaining his Oklahoma Sooners to a 35-7 defeat in the Big-12 Championship (I would have voted for Eli Manning).

Reviewing the polls, computers, and just taking a week to think about what happened, I am more convinced then ever that SC caught a huge break by not being selected for the Sugar Bowl. The AP poll has always been the more respected of the two polls, the one that traditionally had the greatest East Coast bias, and all the Trojans have to do to win its National Championship is beat the Number 4 team in the country in what is practically a home game (and hope LSU doesn't annhiliate Oklahoma; the Tigers are only a couple points behind USC in the AP, and a one-sided win should be enough to get them an undisputed title if the Trojans look unimpressive in beating Michigan). The Maize and Blue are good enough to be a credible opponent in a title game, but more beatable than Oklahoma, when the Sooners show up to play, as they probably will on January 4.

In any event, I would not have wanted to play LSU in their home state for the title, or Oklahoma coming off their embarrasing loss. And I would not wish to postpone any further the annointing of this week's Song Girl of the Week...Heather. The 3-year veteran (and the 2003 Squad Captain) is majoring in Business Administration, which she hopes to parlay into a career in marketing (don't they all...didn't she see Say Anything?). She loves "watermelon and ice cream", but not, as far as I can tell, watermelon ice cream, and Jack Johnson, although I have a feeling it's not the turn-of-the-last century heavyweight champ to which she's referring. The favorite memory of this Pi Beta Thi from San Diego has to be "The friendships and being part of a team!! I love all the girls on the squad. Every year we always grow so close, especially during football season with all the traveling we do...the only other thing I could possibly wish for is a trip to the ROSE BOWL!!!" WISH GRANTED !!!

Sunday, December 07, 2003

If a "national championship" game is held, and the number one team isn't playing, does it take place? The fact is, SC being passed over by LSU isn't the controversy; it's Oklahoma laying such an enormous egg last night but still qualifying to play in the Sugar Bowl. If the Sooners had won, the Trojans might be feeling rightly aggrieved, particularly if LSU had gone on to upset Oklahoma on January 4. But with their loss, Oklahoma has no credibility to having a claim on the national title. SC just has to win on New Year's Day, and they will have as strong a claim as anyone in the country to being number one. The Sugar Bowl just doesn't matter as much, now.

Friday, December 05, 2003

By the end of play tomorrow, we might still not have any idea who Oklahoma's opponent will be on January 4. If LSU and USC both win, the Sugar Bowl slot may be determined by how far Georgia falls in the BCS standings; with No. 10 Miami of Ohio soundly trouncing Bowling Green last night, the Tigers might have to avoid blowing out the Bulldogs to keep their foe in the top-10, and thereby keeping the Quality Win points. Similarly, a victory by Hawaii (over Boise State) and/or Notre Dame (over Syracuse) might enable the Trojans to preserve their margin in the strength-of-schedule department. However, should Oregon State throw a scare into the Trojans, as it has the last two times it has played SC at the Coliseum, LSU might leap into the second spot in the national polls, cinching its place in New Orleans.

Other scenarios would create even greater chaos. For example, let's say both USC and LSU lose tomorrow. Although Michigan is Number Four right now, their lead over No. 6 Georgia is slight as it is; a Bulldog upset over the Bayou Bengals might give them enough of a lift to pass the Wolverines. And what if Oklahoma loses? Supposedly, the various rankings and computer formulas have placed them in a secure position for the Sugar Bowl. But anything other than a last-second loss to K-State would probably knock the Sooners down to third in the standings, assuming USC and LSU win. Could it be possible that a team ranked first in one of the polls would be shut out of the BCS title game? And how about the Army-Navy scenario? Oh, right, that game has no impact, but it will be interesting to see if the Commander-in-Chief shows up with a plastic turkey....

While you consider the possibilities, let us take notice of Kimberly, our Song Girl of the Week. A third-year veteran of the squad, this Kappa Alpha is studying to be an accountant, enjoys going to movies, scrapbooking, and watching The Bachelor, and was drawn to the campus by "the big school feel of USC with its strong athletics, greek system, and academics. The minute I saw USC and looked around the campus, I knew this was the school for me." Hopefully, she'll have the chance to enjoy New Orleans over New Years weekend.

Monday, December 01, 2003

No change at the top, as LSU narrows SC's margin in the BCS rankings, but not enough to prevail unless the Trojans lose this weekend. An LSU victory over Georgia would certainly drop the Bulldogs behind FSU, Miami and Tennessee in the polls, wiping out the one factor that is lifting the Tigers in the seedings.

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