Is There Any Love For The Horns?

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- The USC football team has the cure for the common cold and has brought peace to the Middle East. Okay, so not quite. But the top-ranked Trojans are national leaders not only in total offense but also in hyperbole from an adoring media. This just in! -- Texas is playing in this game, too. And several Horns had something to say Saturday about the perception that the Trojans are the Lone Star auditioning for the role of the greatest college team ever.

"We're walking around in L.A. and everybody has their opinion about how we're going to get beat bad," said QB Vince Young. "I don't even feed into that. When game time comes, we know who's going to win."

The steady barrage of hero-worship lavished upon the Trojans in these parts has rekindled a fire in Young, who burns a couple of degrees hotter on Game Day as it is. It's a situation where Texas is presented as the lesser light of the two Rose Bowl opponents but is only a slight variation from last year's Rose Bowl trip when pigskin pundits questioned the Horns' credentials.

"There were a lot of things said about The University of Texas," Young said, "They said Texas can't win the big games, Texas is not physical enough, Texas this and Texas that. We wanted to show the world what it was all about. To go out there and get it like we did answered the critics. It was kind of nice."

These days, the sports critics have turned their attention to Troy in an effort to determine this team's place in college football history. Most notably, ESPN has made attempts to match the current Trojans as among the Top Five, if not best, in modern college football.

"I've heard that it's on, but I don't see how they can really do that," said USC coach Pete Carroll. "I would think that Texas has a tremendous amount of motivation building into this game just as we do, and they don't need any more than that. If that helps them, then it's okay. I can't do anything about that."

Several Horns have made it clear that they have tuned out the talking heads among national sports media by tuning in to other channels.

Said FL Billy Pittman: "I've been watching a lot of cartoons. I don't see (USC) on The Cartoon Network."

Said RB Selvin Young: "I've been watching Ali fights on ESPN Classic all week. I don't have time to look at SC. I change the channel.

Said Vince Young: Beyonce videos.

Of course, the Horns understand why a two-time national champ with two Heisman winners, located deep in the heart of the country's entertainment media center, might have a bias toward the home boys. But they also respectfully acknowledged that USC has merited the attention that it receives. After all, no college team has ever put two Heisman winners on the field at the same time. No college team has won three straight national titles since national rankings were launched in 1936. No college team has fawning Hollywood A-list types asking for autographs as do the 2005 Trojans. It's just that Vince Young never cared more for the role of Best Supporting Actor.

"They're 34-0 and a great football team, but we're a great football team as well," Young said. "Nobody just gave us 12-0. We worked hard for it. We'll do what it takes to get to this point. We're used to being the underdog. It doesn't matter to us what others think. The best team is going to win, and we're looking forward to playing hard and winning the game."

Pittman summed it up by saying, "They've won 34 games in a row. They must be doing something well."

But if USC has the greatest offense of all time, where does that leave Texas' school-best 508.4 ypg (NCAA No. 3)?

"I guess we're the greatest of greatest of greatest of greatest," Young said.

Bottom line: Texas is matching USC's headlines with confidence.

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