O-Ver-A-Ted: Jonathan Chait, one of the new op-ed columnists for the local paper of record, has a fine piece on the 2005 USC Trojans. Considering that there is nothing to indicate that the PAC-10 was a particularly deep conference this season, or that the Big-12 was particularly weak, I don't see why Texas should be such a significant underdog next week. USC has a spectacular offense, led by the winners of the last two Heisman Trophies, but their defense (Pete Carroll's strong suit, after all) is not that impressive. Besides the now-legendary game with Notre Dame, they almost lost to Fresno State and Arizona State, teams with four and five losses, respectively, and were a bad call away from being 17 points down to Oregon.
Texas is a hungrier team, had only two close calls (both against schools named "O.S.U."), and actually know how to play good defense. They would be hard to beat even if they were playing an opponent that wasn't undeservedly being included among the greatest teams of all time. As the author alludes to, the last time we had a match-up like this, Ohio State knocked off Miami, the defending national champion, in the 2003 Fiesta Bowl.
And, of course, no team has ever won three consecutive AP national titles.