Nov 012005
Authors: Brett Okamoto

For the first time in its eight-year history, the BCS saw the first place position jump between two teams twice in consecutive weeks.

This week the USC Trojans were back at their rightful spot of No. 1 with the Texas Longhorns trailing by a microscopic .0038 margin.

If you ask me it really shouldn't be that close and, mark my words, it won't be a few weeks from now. By the time this season finishes and the annual blowup over the BCS goes down, Texas and their perfect record might not even find themselves in the Rose Bowl.

Before we get into the big picture though let's take a closer look at the intriguing match-up between the two teams who came into the season ranked No. 1 and 2. Longhorn quarterback Vince Young is a star, there's no doubt about it. Athletically, this guy may be the most gifted athlete in the country.

If I were a college coach however, I'd rather try to take on the task of shutting down one Heisman candidate as opposed to two.

I'm referring of course, to the Trojans' early frontrunners for the Heisman, quarterback Matt Leinart and tailback Reggie Bush. Leinart's numbers are equally as staggering as Young's, (19 touchdowns, six interceptions to 16 touchdowns, eight interceptions respectively) and if, for some reason, hell froze over and he went cold, Bush (909 rushing yards, 10 rushing touchdowns) would be there to pick up the slack.

Bottom line, the Longhorns' offense relies too much on one man. Young is so good that hasn't mattered, but in a national title game you have to have backup plans. If Young were to go down in flames, what would Texas's be?

There's also the fact that this team is blessed. It happens from time to time in sports where a team, literally, becomes magic. The Trojans haven't lost a game since Sept. 27, 2003. For a streak to go that long, there has to be some voodoo stuff going on.

At Notre Dame the Fighting Irish had done everything but torn down the goalposts in celebration. With seven seconds remaining in the game and the Trojans needing the end zone, Leinart fumbled the ball on the goal line. If the Irish had gathered the ball, rolled out of the end zone or stayed in the field of play the game would have been over. Instead the ball went out of bounds. Leinart scored on the next play. See what I'm saying? Magic.

I promised to get back to the big picture, so here it is. Texas's remaining games are against teams with combined conference records of 5-10. If Virginia Tech can win this week against No. 6 Miami, (Fl.), they'll make a strong case that they should get the opportunity to play for the national title.

I don't know who should play USC in the Rose Bowl. Truth is, I don't care. As messed up as the BCS is, as long as the Trojans are playing, at least they got it half-right.

Brett Okamoto is the sports editor for the Collegian.



 Posted by at 6:00 pm

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Nov 012005
Authors: Scott Bondy

USC may be No.1 in the BCS, the AP Top 25 and the USA Today Poll, but that doesn't fool me. The Trojans are definitely the second best team in the nation.

I admit, I've been torn on this issue for a few weeks and switched my vote back and forth, but recently I just can't argue against Texas being the best team in the land.

I don't want to hear anything more about strength of schedule or repeat champions still being the champs until they are beat. The fact is Texas will beat USC in the national title game (if USC gets that far) because they are a better team.

How can a team that won the title last year still be top in the nation if they are not the same team? They do not have the same players or the same coaching staff. They are the defending champs. North Carolina won the NCAA men's basketball tourney last year but aren't ranked No. 1 going into this season.

Strength of schedule is important. Beating quality opponents is obviously held in higher regard than playing floor mats. But just because USC beat Notre Dame doesn't mean they are better than Texas.

Southern Cal has some flaws apparent by their close games. Special teams have been a major concern along with pass defense. Texas has no visible flaws. The Trojans are ranked No. 1 in overall offense and Texas is close behind at No. 6. Texas is No. 7 in overall defense while USC is a dismal No. 35. Texas is a much more well rounded team. That hurts, considering the second most electrifying player in college football (behind Reggie Bush), Vince Young, can throw and run. He is ranked 36th in the country in passing and 41st in rushing. That's wild.

Texas has some quality wins as well. They beat then-No. 4 Ohio State as well as in-state rival Texas Tech while they were ranked No. 10. Texas' defense shut down one of the most prolific offenses en route to a 52-17 victory. While Texas was favored to run Oklahoma State into the ground last weekend, they went down 28-12 at the half. But on the road they fought back behind the leadership of Young.

I predicted it to happen two weeks into the season. I think UCLA will take down the Trojans, and then none of this will matter. I do think the Trojans are the second best team no matter what happens, but unfortunately a loss would knock them out of title contention. USC's luck can't last the season. They'll lose one way or another.

Even if you don't agree with me that Texas is No. 1, don't mention a single thing about Virginia Tech (Alabama is the next best team). As far as I'm concerned no one should be mentioned in the same breathe as Texas and Southern Cal.

Scott Bondy is the Collegian's associate managing editor for sports and special sections.

 Posted by at 6:00 pm