After the Michigan defeat of Ohio State last week it seemed as if the Trojans were going to be able to control their destiny on the way to a possible Sugar Bowl match-up with Oklahoma. With the Buckeyes out of the way we saw USC move to a solid #2 position in the BCS rankings and as long as the Trojans took care of business against Oregon State next weekend it looked like our New Years travel arrangements would include a trip to the Big Easy.
All of a sudden, however, there appears to be a possible fly in the ointment as the LSU Tigers, by coincidence the school located in the same state as the Sugar Bowl, have seemingly put themselves in position to leap the Trojans in the rankings for the coveted #2 spot. The actual point difference won't be known until Monday afternoon when the updated rankings are released and the reality is that the computer system is so confusing that even once those rankings are released it will be very hard to predict what the final results will be until after the games are played next Saturday. What we do know is that USC will face Oregon State, a team most capable of getting hot on offense and shutting someone down on defense, while LSU will take on the Georgia Bulldogs in the SEC title game. Georgia has a good team that lost a close game to the Tigers earlier in the year so there is a chance the USC case could be clear cut with Trojan and Bulldog victories.
The fact that the identities of the Sugar Bowl finalists are unknown and up in the air to this point in the season is exactly what the BCS people were hoping for in a desire to "boost" interest in regular season games but the reality is that this current system does a disservice to the other bowls who have built an outstanding tradition over the years. There's something wrong with the Rose Bowl being demoted to also-ran status as fans of the Pac-10 champion Trojans check plane reservations for New Orleans.
With the uncertain status of Randy Estes we've seen Josh Pinkard move into the #1 spot on the wish list for high school strong safeties. Pinkard has a good combination of size and speed and is known as a big hitter. He's also scheduled to look at other Pac-10 schools such as Washington State, Oregon and UCLA but is considered a strong lean to the Trojans.
Trojan coaches Pete Carroll and Nick Holt attended the playoff game for Orange Lutheran HS on Friday night. Anthony Vernaglia, the WR/LB for Orange Lutheran who has given a verbal commit to Notre Dame, was at the recent USC vs UCLA game wearing an SC t-shirt. Anthony is still saying he is a solid commit to the Irish but it has to send a strong message these days to see Carroll and Holt show up at your game when you are committed to another school.
Oregon State comes to town next week in a game that was moved so that it could be a part of Championship Saturday. As it is the Trojans have already clinched the conference title and now all that remains is determining the bowl game destination. With all that is possible, it's hard to imagine the Trojans will get caught looking ahead or come out unprepared for this game. Yes, the Beavers have put together some impressive statistics, both on offense and defense, and they do have a quality runner in Jackson. The Trojans, however, have too much going right now and this train is not going to be derailed at this point in the season.