O/NSO - Rose Bowl review

The present merged with the past and gave a glimpse of the future as the nation's top-ranked USC Trojans (12-1) provided compelling evidence for a national championship by humbling the No. 4 Michigan Wolverines 28-14 in the 90th Rose Bowl before 93,849 and a national television audience.

The Obvious – The present merged with the past and gave a glimpse of the future as the nation's top-ranked USC Trojans (12-1) provided compelling evidence for a national championship by humbling the No. 4 Michigan Wolverines 28-14 in the 90th Rose Bowl before 93,849 and a national television audience.

The Not So Obvious – It was Pete Carroll-appropriate that USC's probable ninth national championship came with a season-high nine sacks against Big Ten champion Michigan (10-3), consuming Wolverine quarterback John Navarre, who fell victim to a relentless, multi-directional Trojan defensive attack.

The Obvious – The Trojans must now wait for the conclusion of the Sugar Bowl before they can be anointed the 2003 Associated Press media poll champions.

The Not So Obvious – The Sugar Bowl wait is unnecessary according to the massive media covering the Rose Bowl. USA Today columnist Christine Brennan summed it up when she wrote, "After watching USC's impressive victory against Michigan in the Rose Bowl, I have only one question: Why are they even bothering with that other game Sunday night in New Orleans? It's over."

The Obvious – Michigan defense tackle Grant Bowman was asked if USC was the best team in the country and Bowman said, "Obviously."

The Not So Obvious – With Michigan having given up only 15 sacks in their previous 12 games, the look on Tony Pape, the huge Michigan offensive linemen was one of disbelief. The UM All-Big Ten tackle said, " It's a tremendously bad feeling to know what happened." The beating and speed Pape witnessed from the Trojans' defensive assault provided the big tackle a glazed appearance, the type of appearance one gets after being involved in a traffic collision.

The Obvious – If you plan to defeat the Trojans, given the past history of Pete Carroll and Norm Chow, never give these two coaching "wizards" extra weeks to work on a game plan.

The Not So Obvious – This was quite apparent to many of the Michigan players, especially offensive tackle Tony Pape. Pape said, "After we just saw the game they (USC) played, they played us perfectly. They had a great game plan. They played a great game."

The Obvious – During the season, the Trojans averaged 42 points per game, but on Thursday, USC scored "only" 28 points against a fine Michigan defense.

The Not So Obvious – For those fussbudgets, the score could have easily been in the 40 Club had Troy not missed an early field goal, a Keary Colbert "touchdown" reception not been ruled an incomplete pass, and had there not been a Trojan quarterback fumble exchange near the Michigan goal line. Ah, but whose counting when you double-up anyway on the 6 1/2 Vegas odds for a USC win?

The Obvious – Michigan was stacking eight Wolverines in the box and Trojans' offensive coordinator Norm Chow decided to tease the maize and blue with token runs for most of the first half.

The Not So Obvious – It was almost unreal to see the Michigan strategy daring the Trojans to pass. Asking Norm Chow to order pass after to pass is like asking my wife and her mother-in-law if they would like to go to Robinson's-May for the post holiday sales.

The Obvious – The two biggest plays of the game were the "foot" carom interception by USC linebacker Lofa Tatupu and the reverse touchdown pass from receiver Mike Williams to quarterback Matt Leinart.

The Not So Obvious – To win a championship in a championship game, it takes both luck and skill and those two plays illustrate why the Trojans will soon be called national champs. Great teams generally get good luck as icing for a football cake.

The Obvious –Due to the design of the Trojans' defense and the reaction by the Michigan offensive line, linebacker Lofa Tatupu said after the games he had never seen the Trojans move this fast on a field. It also doubtful that Tatupu ever moved as fast with the ball as when he saw the Michigan end zone. From afar, he looked like his daddy, Mosi, the Coke machine former Trojan fullback.

The Not So Obvious – Moving the fastest appeared to be All-America end Kenechi Udeze, who had three sacks, and Will Poole, who had eight tackles. Poole, who also had two corner blitz sacks, was especially effective in preventing UM All-America tailback Chris Perry a number of times from breaking long runs on cutback plays.

The Obvious – A number of major high school all-star games are being played this weekend across the country with a number of high profile USC recruits.

The Not So Obvious – One has to wonder what effect Thursday's game may have on those Trojan recruits that are down in San Antonio for the national game that will be seen Saturday morning on NBC. You might want to tune in to see if one of the prep prodigies gives a verbal to the cardinal and gold.

The Obvious – Expect USC offensive coordinator Norm Chow to be asked next week at the Atlanta Coaches Convention how and when he decided to run that third quarter Mike Williams' 15-yard reverse scoring pass to quarterback Matt Leinart to completely take the air out of the Wolverines.

The Not So Obvious – Of the dagger reverse-pass touchdown play, Michigan defensive tackle Grant Bowman said, "From my viewpoint, I thought it was a sweep, then I thought it was a reverse, and then I couldn't believe it when he (Williams) started to throw and I saw him (Leinart) wide open. They had me three times on that play."

The Obvious – USC quarterback Matt Leinart has had tremendous seasonal success throwing to sophomore All-American receiver Mike Williams all through the course of the 2003 season.

The Not So Obvious – In a true "reversal" of roles, it was poignant that Leinart be on the reception end of Williams' scoring toss. Aside from the trickery of the play, the final stealth moment of the play was the fact that Williams, like Leinart, is left-handed and completely fooled the Michigan defense as Big Mike was headed across to the left side
of the field with defenders coming up to tackle him and unaware of his southpaw status.

The Obvious – The tailgating before the game provided Brookside Golf Course an array of CD fight song music from USC and Michigan, the smell of the BBQ everywhere, and fans dressed in teams colors with footballs being tossed everywhere.

The Not So Obvious – Some fans went the extra mile in enjoying the Arroyo Seco surroundings. One family party actually had a Direct-TV satellite dish on the grass connected to a portable television set as the beverages flowed and sandwiches were being consumed.

The Obvious – Michigan had come out on fire all season in the first and second quarters and had blasted their opponents 220 points to 65, thus making USC defensive tackle Shaun Cody's first quarter 47-yard field goal block a game setting moment.

The Not So Obvious – On the field goal block, Cody informed, "You get a block out of a field goal, and it kind of sets the tone for the defensive line play."

The Obvious – The blocked field goal by the Trojans was certainly something Carroll's coaching staff must have picked up seeing film of Michigan.

The Not So Obvious – In each of Michigan's losses, there has been a blocked kick. In the loss to Oregon, the Wolverines had a blocked extra point and punt and similar problems at Iowa.

The Obvious – USC quarterback Matt Leinart was named the 2004 Rose Bowl MVP by throwing for three scores, receiving one score, and passing for 327 yards without an interception.

The Not So Obvious – One would think that the Rose Bowl MVP would get a trophy bigger than what looked like a small glass ashtray ornament you could win at the Los Angeles County Fair coin toss

The Obvious – Michigan quarterback John Navarre finished 27-of-46 passes for 271 yards and one touchdown pass.

The Not So Obvious – Once again, this generation's Wild Bunch turned quarterback Narvarre into an updated version of former UCLA quarterback Dennis Dummit, who took such a savage beating by the original Wild Bunch back in 1969.

The Obvious – USC linebacker coach Nick Holt, recently named head coach at Idaho, has been suffering recently with a difficult form of meningitis.

The Not So Obvious – Pete Carroll let it been known after the game that Holt has been sicker than publicized, and that the coach was in the hospital getting an I.V. Carroll didn't think Holt could coach on Thursday and was shocked when the fiery linebacker coach showed up for a night meeting before the game looking "yellow" and with an IV in his arm. Saint Pete said the players saw it and started chanting Holt's name in appreciation of his effort. Carroll said he didn't know how Holt was able to do the game.

The Obvious – Trojans' super senior receiver Keary Colbert had six receptions for 149 yards and two touchdown receptions and was the Trojans' main receiving threat.

The Not So Obvious – Again on New Year's Day, Colbert showed the nation why opposing coaches feared him as much as All-American Mike Williams. Keary became the Trojans all-time reception leader with his effort in the Rose Bowl but when asked about it, the humble Colbert said, "It won't last long, Mike (Williams) will break the record next year."

The Obvious - Michigan had won five of their last six bowl games, including a 1998 Rose Bowl win over Washington State that gave UM the national championship.

The Not So Obvious – Michigan has now lost four of their last five games played on the West Coast and probably has seen enough of the Trojans in Pasadena for awhile. The maize and blue may have to change the last words of their fight song, which includes "Champions of the West."

The Obvious – The Trojans' team bus was expected to arrive in front of the Rose Bowl for the "Trojan Walk" between 12:00 and 12:15.

The Not So Obvious – Due to traffic along Lincoln Street near John Muir High, the Trojans, even with a police escort, didn't arrive in front of the Rose Bowl until 12:25. Off the bus first came USC coach Pete Carroll flashing a smile and a "Fight On" for the highly charged and vocal Trojan following. After the coach came DB Marcell Allmond and coach Orgeron. As is his pre-game tradition, punter Tom Malone came out bouncing a football.

The Obvious. – The Trojan team wore Rose Bowl patches on their right shoulder for the game.

The Not So Obvious – The Trojans' yell and song girls also were wearing new uniform top that also had a Rose Bowl design.

The Obvious – Trojan fans have followed and waited for former Long Beach Poly defensive tackle Manual Wright, who watched USC games last season in the stands with his family, to make an impact during this 2003 season.

The Not So Obvious – With the Trojans leading 14-0 and Michigan driving, all that oozing potential displayed itself in the second quarter when Wright bull-rushed through a Michigan offensive lineman and racked Wolverine quarterback John Navarre. On the next play, Wright, who spent much of the early portion of training camp trying to get in shape, tipped a Navarre pass attempt.

The Obvious – Trojan Brandon Hancock started the 90th Rose Bowl at fullback.

The Not So Obvious – Norm Chow didn't waste time getting the oft-injured fullback into the minds of Michigan defenders by throwing to the former Clovis West star for 14 yards out of the backfield on USC's first offensive play.

The Obvious – The score at halftime was USC leading Michigan 14-0.

The Not So Obvious – It's a long way during halftime for the coaches to go from the Rose Bowl press box to the locker facilities and back. Trojan coach Norm Chow got the star treatment returning to the press box with ten minutes remaining during halftime as he sprinted some 150 yards around the playing field flanked by at least 17 yellowed jacketed security folks. A short time later, defensive coaches Greg Burns and Rocky Seto did the same procedure, but apparently didn't have the high ranking to get the security escort.

The Obvious – Michigan coach Lloyd Carr tried a number of ideas to try and get USC offensive coordinator Norm Chow and quarterback Matt Leinart out of rhythm.

The Not So Obvious – One strategy used by Michigan on defense was to leave 15 defenders on the field just prior to the Trojans' snap of the ball so that SC couldn't adjust to the Michigan personnel.

The Obvious – There was the usual list of Trojan celebs at the sidelines including the likes of Marcus Allen, Sam "Bam" Cunningham, Ronnie Lott, Sultan McCullough, and even comedian Will Ferrell was in the house.

The Not So Obvious – The one celebrity who would be considered Obvious, but whose presence is not always a given considering the space involved was Traveler, the Trojans' famed white horse. Trojan fans were especially excited, given security concerns, to have their beloved "Horse" inside the Bowl. Wonder if the horse needed security photo identification?

The Obvious – The Trojans super freshman Reggie Bush had a productive Rose Bowl rushing eight times for 41 yards (5.1 Ave.), receiving two passes for 42 yards (21.0 ave), and returning two kickoffs for 45 yards.

The Not So Obvious – While Bush was a major threat every moment he handled the pigskin, fellow freshman running back LenDale White quietly was on the receiving end of a Leinart "dump-off" and scored on a 6-yards pass breaking a tackle and slipping in for a score. LenDale also had eight carries for 26 yards and demonstrated he could move the pile between the Wolverine tackles when called upon.

The Obvious – Scalpers outside the Rose Bowl entrance were selling tickets in a wide variety of prices. One fella bought one at $200 and sat 35 roles up in Tunnel 7.

The Not So Obvious – One comical pair of scalpers on the intersectionof Lincoln and Washington were together with one holding up four tickets for sale while his buddy had a cardboard sign reading, "I Need Tickets." Talk about your oxymoron.

The Obvious – Michigan All-American tailback Chris Perry fell into the Burmuda Triangle of Tailbacks, better known as the USC defense.

The Not So Obvious – While showing glimpses of greatess and always a threat to put the Trojans in harm's way, Perry was limited to 85 yards in 23 carries, 50 yards less than his average. Give big credit to corner Will Poole and free safety Jason Leach, both of whom prevented Perry at different times a chance to take it the distance.

The Obvious – The Trojans' kicking game of both kicker Ryan Killeen and punter Tom Malone was almost flawless in its performance.

The Not So Obvious – Killen, who did miss on an early 39-yard field goal attempt that sailed right, was on the money on three kickoffs and prevented dangerous Wolverine Steve Breaston a number of times from even getting out of the end zone after USC scores.Killen set the tone on the opening kickoff by nailing it deep into the Michigan end zone. Malone averaged 46.7 on three punts and got enough hang time, as usual, to stop a Breaston patented return.

The Obvious – One very explosive Wolverine was receiver and kick returner Steve Breaston, the Big Ten Freshman of the Year.

The Not So Obvious – Breaston is definitely a talent. The Trojans were fortunate to "hold" Breaston to two rushes for 21 yards and six receptions for 61 yards. One of the nation's top punt returners, Breaston was unable to get one back against the Trojans and was even dropped by Troy's Justin Wyatt at the Michigan six yard line during a crucial moment in the game.

The Obvious – Perhaps with a national title at stake, USC fans were as loud and intense during this Rose Bowl as any remembered Pasadena appearances.

The Not So Obvious – The Trojan players were certainly aware of the "home" support. During a timeout after Justin Wyatt had dropped Michigan's Breaston on the aforementioned punt return attempt, USC fans behind the "USC" marked end zone started doing a yell with a rhythmic hand clap. Defensive linemen Shaun Cody and Frostee Rucker began nodding their heads and clapping with the adoring Trojan fans.

The Obvious – The Rose Bowl program was a beautiful 208-page color program that sold for a reasonable ten bucks.

The Not So Obvious – Loved the color mugs of both the Trojans and Wolverines. Pure class. It also appeared that the program's size had been reduced in terms of length and width.

The Obvious - Much has been made this season on the potential of Trojan freshmen receivers Steve Smith and Whitney Lewis.

The Not So Obvious – For all those prep players that may sign with the Trojans and needed further proof of Carroll and Chow's acceptance of playing true freshmen, there were Smith and Lewis out there for the Trojans' first offensive series ready to roll. While Lewis was not thrown a pass, Smith did have one nice grab for nine yards.

The Obvious – In the past ten years, the Rose Bowl has used a number of public address voices for the historic game.

The Not So Obvious – The current voice of the Bowl is UCLA football public address voice Chuck Taylor. So if you Trojans were thinking you were at a Bruin game, that was the reason. Unfortunately for the Bruin voice, he made two consecutive errant calls in the first quarter identifying one Wolverine tackler as USC's Mike Patterson on a sack of USC's Matt Leinart followed by a Frostee Rucker tackle of a Trojan.

The Obvious – The Trojans were very fortunate early in the game when Michigan receivers dropped some early throws that could have led to direct scores.

The Not So Obvious - Michigan was also fortunate to recover all three of its own fumbles, which would have added to the Wolverines eventual demise.

The Obvious - The sign of a well-coached team is the lack of penalties in a game.

The Not So Obvious – Both the Trojans and Wolverines displayed why they are two of the very best coached teams in the country as USC was flagged three times for 22 yards and Michigan twice for 10 yards.

The Obvious – The game lasted three hours and fifteen minutes.

The Not So Obvious – As usual, it just seemed to take that long getting in and out of the Rose Bowl parking lots.

The Obvious – USC linebacker Matt Grootegoed saw limited action during the course of the game.

The Not So Obvious – It was a basic miracle that the kid was even out there on the hallowed grass. Even on a bum leg, Groots made a great hit on UM tailback Perry on an attempted screen pass.

The Obvious – For the most part, the Trojans' offensive game plan was in total command.

The Not So Obvious – However, some eyebrows were raised when the Trojans had a commanding lead beginning the fourth quarter, and the USC elected to throw three straight incompletions, stopping the clock and giving Michigan valuable minutes of extra life. It figured that SC would run the ball looking for first downs and drain the mortal life out of the game clock.

The Obvious – Many of the Trojan fans and vocal spirit voices were located in the end zones making viewing of the game a "PlayStation" experience.

The Not So Obvious – This was actually a boon for fans as they got to see what the coaches see when they film a game or practice. From behind the end zone, you got a pretty good idea of decisions made by USC and Michigan players. Some of the "hits" from both teams were impressively aggressive.

The Obvious - ABC had their "Times Square Stadium" crew of John Saunders, Terry Bowden, and Craig James inside the Rose Bowl for pre, half, and post game comments.

The Not So Obvious – Fans were amazed with the portable outdoor studio provided by ABC. The stage and roof literally collapsed during game action. During play, the three ABC announcers stood at the corner of the end zone and watched the game, often far away from the contest.

The Obvious – Coach Pete Carroll's Trojans must now wait until late Sunday evening and the conclusion of the Sugar Bowl before all the ballots of the Associated Press media poll are counted.

The Not So Obvious – While the early "exit polls" indicate the Trojans will be named national champions, it still will be a few days before Heritage Hall gets championship trophy number nine. Of course, when you've waited twenty-five years for the grandest of college football honors, what's another couple of days?The Obvious – The present merged with the past and gave a glimpse of the future as the nation's top-ranked USC Trojans (12-1) provided compelling evidence for a national championship by humbling the No. 4 Michigan Wolverines 28-14 in the 90th Rose Bowl before 93,849 and a national television audience.

The Not So Obvious – It was Pete Carroll-appropriate that USC's probable ninth national championship came with a season-high nine sacks against Big Ten champion Michigan (10-3), consuming Wolverine quarterback John Navarre, who fell victim to a relentless, multi-directional Trojan defensive attack.

The Obvious – The Trojans must now wait for the conclusion of the Sugar Bowl before they can be anointed the 2003 Associated Press media poll champions.

The Not So Obvious – The Sugar Bowl wait is unnecessary according to the massive media covering the Rose Bowl. USA Today columnist Christine Brennan summed it up when she wrote, "After watching USC's impressive victory against Michigan in the Rose Bowl, I have only one question: Why are they even bothering with that other game Sunday night in New Orleans? It's over."

The Obvious – Michigan defense tackle Grant Bowman was asked if USC was the best team in the country and Bowman said, "Obviously."

The Not So Obvious – With Michigan having given up only 15 sacks in their previous 12 games, the look on Tony Pape, the huge Michigan offensive linemen was one of disbelief. The UM All-Big Ten tackle said, " It's a tremendously bad feeling to know what happened." The beating and speed Pape witnessed from the Trojans' defensive assault provided the big tackle a glazed appearance, the type of appearance one gets after being involved in a traffic collision.

The Obvious – If you plan to defeat the Trojans, given the past history of Pete Carroll and Norm Chow, never give these two coaching "wizards" extra weeks to work on a game plan.

The Not So Obvious – This was quite apparent to many of the Michigan players, especially offensive tackle Tony Pape. Pape said, "After we just saw the game they (USC) played, they played us perfectly. They had a great game plan. They played a great game."

The Obvious – During the season, the Trojans averaged 42 points per game, but on Thursday, USC scored "only" 28 points against a fine Michigan defense.

The Not So Obvious – For those fussbudgets, the score could have easily been in the 40 Club had Troy not missed an early field goal, a Keary Colbert "touchdown" reception not been ruled an incomplete pass, and had there not been a Trojan quarterback fumble exchange near the Michigan goal line. Ah, but whose counting when you double-up anyway on the 6 1/2 Vegas odds for a USC win?

The Obvious – Michigan was stacking eight Wolverines in the box and Trojans' offensive coordinator Norm Chow decided to tease the maize and blue with token runs for most of the first half.

The Not So Obvious – It was almost unreal to see the Michigan strategy daring the Trojans to pass. Asking Norm Chow to order pass after to pass is like asking my wife and her mother-in-law if they would like to go to Robinson's-May for the post holiday sales.

The Obvious – The two biggest plays of the game were the "foot" carom interception by USC linebacker Lofa Tatupu and the reverse touchdown pass from receiver Mike Williams to quarterback Matt Leinart.

The Not So Obvious – To win a championship in a championship game, it takes both luck and skill and those two plays illustrate why the Trojans will soon be called national champs. Great teams generally get good luck as icing for a football cake.

The Obvious –Due to the design of the Trojans' defense and the reaction by the Michigan offensive line, linebacker Lofa Tatupu said after the games he had never seen the Trojans move this fast on a field. It also doubtful that Tatupu ever moved as fast with the ball as when he saw the Michigan end zone. From afar, he looked like his daddy, Mosi, the Coke machine former Trojan fullback.

The Not So Obvious – Moving the fastest appeared to be All-America end Kenechi Udeze, who had three sacks, and Will Poole, who had eight tackles. Poole, who also had two corner blitz sacks, was especially effective in preventing UM All-America tailback Chris Perry a number of times from breaking long runs on cutback plays.

The Obvious – A number of major high school all-star games are being played this weekend across the country with a number of high profile USC recruits.

The Not So Obvious – One has to wonder what effect Thursday's game may have on those Trojan recruits that are down in San Antonio for the national game that will be seen Saturday morning on NBC. You might want to tune in to see if one of the prep prodigies gives a verbal to the cardinal and gold.

The Obvious – Expect USC offensive coordinator Norm Chow to be asked next week at the Atlanta Coaches Convention how and when he decided to run that third quarter Mike Williams' 15-yard reverse scoring pass to quarterback Matt Leinart to completely take the air out of the Wolverines.

The Not So Obvious – Of the dagger reverse-pass touchdown play, Michigan defensive tackle Grant Bowman said, "From my viewpoint, I thought it was a sweep, then I thought it was a reverse, and then I couldn't believe it when he (Williams) started to throw and I saw him (Leinart) wide open. They had me three times on that play."

The Obvious – USC quarterback Matt Leinart has had tremendous seasonal success throwing to sophomore All-American receiver Mike Williams all through the course of the 2003 season.

The Not So Obvious – In a true "reversal" of roles, it was poignant that Leinart be on the reception end of Williams' scoring toss. Aside from the trickery of the play, the final stealth moment of the play was the fact that Williams, like Leinart, is left-handed and completely fooled the Michigan defense as Big Mike was headed across to the left side
of the field with defenders coming up to tackle him and unaware of his southpaw status.

The Obvious – The tailgating before the game provided Brookside Golf Course an array of CD fight song music from USC and Michigan, the smell of the BBQ everywhere, and fans dressed in teams colors with footballs being tossed everywhere.

The Not So Obvious – Some fans went the extra mile in enjoying the Arroyo Seco surroundings. One family party actually had a Direct-TV satellite dish on the grass connected to a portable television set as the beverages flowed and sandwiches were being consumed.

The Obvious – Michigan had come out on fire all season in the first and second quarters and had blasted their opponents 220 points to 65, thus making USC defensive tackle Shaun Cody's first quarter 47-yard field goal block a game setting moment.

The Not So Obvious – On the field goal block, Cody informed, "You get a block out of a field goal, and it kind of sets the tone for the defensive line play."

The Obvious – The blocked field goal by the Trojans was certainly something Carroll's coaching staff must have picked up seeing film of Michigan.

The Not So Obvious – In each of Michigan's losses, there has been a blocked kick. In the loss to Oregon, the Wolverines had a blocked extra point and punt and similar problems at Iowa.

The Obvious – USC quarterback Matt Leinart was named the 2004 Rose Bowl MVP by throwing for three scores, receiving one score, and passing for 327 yards without an interception.

The Not So Obvious – One would think that the Rose Bowl MVP would get a trophy bigger than what looked like a small glass ashtray ornament you could win at the Los Angeles County Fair coin toss

The Obvious – Michigan quarterback John Navarre finished 27-of-46 passes for 271 yards and one touchdown pass.

The Not So Obvious – Once again, this generation's Wild Bunch turned quarterback Narvarre into an updated version of former UCLA quarterback Dennis Dummit, who took such a savage beating by the original Wild Bunch back in 1969.

The Obvious – USC linebacker coach Nick Holt, recently named head coach at Idaho, has been suffering recently with a difficult form of meningitis.

The Not So Obvious – Pete Carroll let it been known after the game that Holt has been sicker than publicized, and that the coach was in the hospital getting an I.V. Carroll didn't think Holt could coach on Thursday and was shocked when the fiery linebacker coach showed up for a night meeting before the game looking "yellow" and with an IV in his arm. Saint Pete said the players saw it and started chanting Holt's name in appreciation of his effort. Carroll said he didn't know how Holt was able to do the game.

The Obvious – Trojans' super senior receiver Keary Colbert had six receptions for 149 yards and two touchdown receptions and was the Trojans' main receiving threat.

The Not So Obvious – Again on New Year's Day, Colbert showed the nation why opposing coaches feared him as much as All-American Mike Williams. Keary became the Trojans all-time reception leader with his effort in the Rose Bowl but when asked about it, the humble Colbert said, "It won't last long, Mike (Williams) will break the record next year."

The Obvious - Michigan had won five of their last six bowl games, including a 1998 Rose Bowl win over Washington State that gave UM the national championship.

The Not So Obvious – Michigan has now lost four of their last five games played on the West Coast and probably has seen enough of the Trojans in Pasadena for awhile. The maize and blue may have to change the last words of their fight song, which includes "Champions of the West."

The Obvious – The Trojans' team bus was expected to arrive in front of the Rose Bowl for the "Trojan Walk" between 12:00 and 12:15.

The Not So Obvious – Due to traffic along Lincoln Street near John Muir High, the Trojans, even with a police escort, didn't arrive in front of the Rose Bowl until 12:25. Off the bus first came USC coach Pete Carroll flashing a smile and a "Fight On" for the highly charged and vocal Trojan following. After the coach came DB Marcell Allmond and coach Orgeron. As is his pre-game tradition, punter Tom Malone came out bouncing a football.

The Obvious. – The Trojan team wore Rose Bowl patches on their right shoulder for the game.

The Not So Obvious – The Trojans' yell and song girls also were wearing new uniform top that also had a Rose Bowl design.

The Obvious – Trojan fans have followed and waited for former Long Beach Poly defensive tackle Manual Wright, who watched USC games last season in the stands with his family, to make an impact during this 2003 season.

The Not So Obvious – With the Trojans leading 14-0 and Michigan driving, all that oozing potential displayed itself in the second quarter when Wright bull-rushed through a Michigan offensive lineman and racked Wolverine quarterback John Navarre. On the next play, Wright, who spent much of the early portion of training camp trying to get in shape, tipped a Navarre pass attempt.

The Obvious – Trojan Brandon Hancock started the 90th Rose Bowl at fullback.

The Not So Obvious – Norm Chow didn't waste time getting the oft-injured fullback into the minds of Michigan defenders by throwing to the former Clovis West star for 14 yards out of the backfield on USC's first offensive play.

The Obvious – The score at halftime was USC leading Michigan 14-0.

The Not So Obvious – It's a long way during halftime for the coaches to go from the Rose Bowl press box to the locker facilities and back. Trojan coach Norm Chow got the star treatment returning to the press box with ten minutes remaining during halftime as he sprinted some 150 yards around the playing field flanked by at least 17 yellowed jacketed security folks. A short time later, defensive coaches Greg Burns and Rocky Seto did the same procedure, but apparently didn't have the high ranking to get the security escort.

The Obvious – Michigan coach Lloyd Carr tried a number of ideas to try and get USC offensive coordinator Norm Chow and quarterback Matt Leinart out of rhythm.

The Not So Obvious – One strategy used by Michigan on defense was to leave 15 defenders on the field just prior to the Trojans' snap of the ball so that SC couldn't adjust to the Michigan personnel.

The Obvious – There was the usual list of Trojan celebs at the sidelines including the likes of Marcus Allen, Sam "Bam" Cunningham, Ronnie Lott, Sultan McCullough, and even comedian Will Ferrell was in the house.

The Not So Obvious – The one celebrity who would be considered Obvious, but whose presence is not always a given considering the space involved was Traveler, the Trojans' famed white horse. Trojan fans were especially excited, given security concerns, to have their beloved "Horse" inside the Bowl. Wonder if the horse needed security photo identification?

The Obvious – The Trojans super freshman Reggie Bush had a productive Rose Bowl rushing eight times for 41 yards (5.1 Ave.), receiving two passes for 42 yards (21.0 ave), and returning two kickoffs for 45 yards.

The Not So Obvious – While Bush was a major threat every moment he handled the pigskin, fellow freshman running back LenDale White quietly was on the receiving end of a Leinart "dump-off" and scored on a 6-yards pass breaking a tackle and slipping in for a score. LenDale also had eight carries for 26 yards and demonstrated he could move the pile between the Wolverine tackles when called upon.

The Obvious – Scalpers outside the Rose Bowl entrance were selling tickets in a wide variety of prices. One fella bought one at $200 and sat 35 roles up in Tunnel 7.

The Not So Obvious – One comical pair of scalpers on the intersectionof Lincoln and Washington were together with one holding up four tickets for sale while his buddy had a cardboard sign reading, "I Need Tickets." Talk about your oxymoron.

The Obvious – Michigan All-American tailback Chris Perry fell into the Burmuda Triangle of Tailbacks, better known as the USC defense.

The Not So Obvious – While showing glimpses of greatess and always a threat to put the Trojans in harm's way, Perry was limited to 85 yards in 23 carries, 50 yards less than his average. Give big credit to corner Will Poole and free safety Jason Leach, both of whom prevented Perry at different times a chance to take it the distance.

The Obvious – The Trojans' kicking game of both kicker Ryan Killeen and punter Tom Malone was almost flawless in its performance.

The Not So Obvious – Killen, who did miss on an early 39-yard field goal attempt that sailed right, was on the money on three kickoffs and prevented dangerous Wolverine Steve Breaston a number of times from even getting out of the end zone after USC scores.Killen set the tone on the opening kickoff by nailing it deep into the Michigan end zone. Malone averaged 46.7 on three punts and got enough hang time, as usual, to stop a Breaston patented return.

The Obvious – One very explosive Wolverine was receiver and kick returner Steve Breaston, the Big Ten Freshman of the Year.

The Not So Obvious – Breaston is definitely a talent. The Trojans were fortunate to "hold" Breaston to two rushes for 21 yards and six receptions for 61 yards. One of the nation's top punt returners, Breaston was unable to get one back against the Trojans and was even dropped by Troy's Justin Wyatt at the Michigan six yard line during a crucial moment in the game.

The Obvious – Perhaps with a national title at stake, USC fans were as loud and intense during this Rose Bowl as any remembered Pasadena appearances.

The Not So Obvious – The Trojan players were certainly aware of the "home" support. During a timeout after Justin Wyatt had dropped Michigan's Breaston on the aforementioned punt return attempt, USC fans behind the "USC" marked end zone started doing a yell with a rhythmic hand clap. Defensive linemen Shaun Cody and Frostee Rucker began nodding their heads and clapping with the adoring Trojan fans.

The Obvious – The Rose Bowl program was a beautiful 208-page color program that sold for a reasonable ten bucks.

The Not So Obvious – Loved the color mugs of both the Trojans and Wolverines. Pure class. It also appeared that the program's size had been reduced in terms of length and width.

The Obvious - Much has been made this season on the potential of Trojan freshmen receivers Steve Smith and Whitney Lewis.

The Not So Obvious – For all those prep players that may sign with the Trojans and needed further proof of Carroll and Chow's acceptance of playing true freshmen, there were Smith and Lewis out there for the Trojans' first offensive series ready to roll. While Lewis was not thrown a pass, Smith did have one nice grab for nine yards.

The Obvious – In the past ten years, the Rose Bowl has used a number of public address voices for the historic game.

The Not So Obvious – The current voice of the Bowl is UCLA football public address voice Chuck Taylor. So if you Trojans were thinking you were at a Bruin game, that was the reason. Unfortunately for the Bruin voice, he made two consecutive errant calls in the first quarter identifying one Wolverine tackler as USC's Mike Patterson on a sack of USC's Matt Leinart followed by a Frostee Rucker tackle of a Trojan.

The Obvious – The Trojans were very fortunate early in the game when Michigan receivers dropped some early throws that could have led to direct scores.

The Not So Obvious - Michigan was also fortunate to recover all three of its own fumbles, which would have added to the Wolverines eventual demise.

The Obvious - The sign of a well-coached team is the lack of penalties in a game.

The Not So Obvious – Both the Trojans and Wolverines displayed why they are two of the very best coached teams in the country as USC was flagged three times for 22 yards and Michigan twice for 10 yards.

The Obvious – The game lasted three hours and fifteen minutes.

The Not So Obvious – As usual, it just seemed to take that long getting in and out of the Rose Bowl parking lots.

The Obvious – USC linebacker Matt Grootegoed saw limited action during the course of the game.

The Not So Obvious – It was a basic miracle that the kid was even out there on the hallowed grass. Even on a bum leg, Groots made a great hit on UM tailback Perry on an attempted screen pass.

The Obvious – For the most part, the Trojans' offensive game plan was in total command.

The Not So Obvious – However, some eyebrows were raised when the Trojans had a commanding lead beginning the fourth quarter, and the USC elected to throw three straight incompletions, stopping the clock and giving Michigan valuable minutes of extra life. It figured that SC would run the ball looking for first downs and drain the mortal life out of the game clock.

The Obvious – Many of the Trojan fans and vocal spirit voices were located in the end zones making viewing of the game a "PlayStation" experience.

The Not So Obvious – This was actually a boon for fans as they got to see what the coaches see when they film a game or practice. From behind the end zone, you got a pretty good idea of decisions made by USC and Michigan players. Some of the "hits" from both teams were impressively aggressive.

The Obvious - ABC had their "Times Square Stadium" crew of John Saunders, Terry Bowden, and Craig James inside the Rose Bowl for pre, half, and post game comments.

The Not So Obvious – Fans were amazed with the portable outdoor studio provided by ABC. The stage and roof literally collapsed during game action. During play, the three ABC announcers stood at the corner of the end zone and watched the game, often far away from the contest.

The Obvious – Coach Pete Carroll's Trojans must now wait until late Sunday evening and the conclusion of the Sugar Bowl before all the ballots of the Associated Press media poll are counted.

The Not So Obvious – While the early "exit polls" indicate the Trojans will be named national champions, it still will be a few days before Heritage Hall gets championship trophy number nine. Of course, when you've waited twenty-five years for the grandest of college football honors, what's another couple of days?The Obvious – The present merged with the past and gave a glimpse of the future as the nation's top-ranked USC Trojans (12-1) provided compelling evidence for a national championship by humbling the No. 4 Michigan Wolverines 28-14 in the 90th Rose Bowl before 93,849 and a national television audience.

The Not So Obvious – It was Pete Carroll-appropriate that USC's probable ninth national championship came with a season-high nine sacks against Big Ten champion Michigan (10-3), consuming Wolverine quarterback John Navarre, who fell victim to a relentless, multi-directional Trojan defensive attack.

The Obvious – The Trojans must now wait for the conclusion of the Sugar Bowl before they can be anointed the 2003 Associated Press media poll champions.

The Not So Obvious – The Sugar Bowl wait is unnecessary according to the massive media covering the Rose Bowl. USA Today columnist Christine Brennan summed it up when she wrote, "After watching USC's impressive victory against Michigan in the Rose Bowl, I have only one question: Why are they even bothering with that other game Sunday night in New Orleans? It's over."

The Obvious – Michigan defense tackle Grant Bowman was asked if USC was the best team in the country and Bowman said, "Obviously."

The Not So Obvious – With Michigan having given up only 15 sacks in their previous 12 games, the look on Tony Pape, the huge Michigan offensive linemen was one of disbelief. The UM All-Big Ten tackle said, " It's a tremendously bad feeling to know what happened." The beating and speed Pape witnessed from the Trojans' defensive assault provided the big tackle a glazed appearance, the type of appearance one gets after being involved in a traffic collision.

The Obvious – If you plan to defeat the Trojans, given the past history of Pete Carroll and Norm Chow, never give these two coaching "wizards" extra weeks to work on a game plan.

The Not So Obvious – This was quite apparent to many of the Michigan players, especially offensive tackle Tony Pape. Pape said, "After we just saw the game they (USC) played, they played us perfectly. They had a great game plan. They played a great game."

The Obvious – During the season, the Trojans averaged 42 points per game, but on Thursday, USC scored "only" 28 points against a fine Michigan defense.

The Not So Obvious – For those fussbudgets, the score could have easily been in the 40 Club had Troy not missed an early field goal, a Keary Colbert "touchdown" reception not been ruled an incomplete pass, and had there not been a Trojan quarterback fumble exchange near the Michigan goal line. Ah, but whose counting when you double-up anyway on the 6 1/2 Vegas odds for a USC win?

The Obvious – Michigan was stacking eight Wolverines in the box and Trojans' offensive coordinator Norm Chow decided to tease the maize and blue with token runs for most of the first half.

The Not So Obvious – It was almost unreal to see the Michigan strategy daring the Trojans to pass. Asking Norm Chow to order pass after to pass is like asking my wife and her mother-in-law if they would like to go to Robinson's-May for the post holiday sales.

The Obvious – The two biggest plays of the game were the "foot" carom interception by USC linebacker Lofa Tatupu and the reverse touchdown pass from receiver Mike Williams to quarterback Matt Leinart.

The Not So Obvious – To win a championship in a championship game, it takes both luck and skill and those two plays illustrate why the Trojans will soon be called national champs. Great teams generally get good luck as icing for a football cake.

The Obvious –Due to the design of the Trojans' defense and the reaction by the Michigan offensive line, linebacker Lofa Tatupu said after the games he had never seen the Trojans move this fast on a field. It also doubtful that Tatupu ever moved as fast with the ball as when he saw the Michigan end zone. From afar, he looked like his daddy, Mosi, the Coke machine former Trojan fullback.

The Not So Obvious – Moving the fastest appeared to be All-America end Kenechi Udeze, who had three sacks, and Will Poole, who had eight tackles. Poole, who also had two corner blitz sacks, was especially effective in preventing UM All-America tailback Chris Perry a number of times from breaking long runs on cutback plays.

The Obvious – A number of major high school all-star games are being played this weekend across the country with a number of high profile USC recruits.

The Not So Obvious – One has to wonder what effect Thursday's game may have on those Trojan recruits that are down in San Antonio for the national game that will be seen Saturday morning on NBC. You might want to tune in to see if one of the prep prodigies gives a verbal to the cardinal and gold.

The Obvious – Expect USC offensive coordinator Norm Chow to be asked next week at the Atlanta Coaches Convention how and when he decided to run that third quarter Mike Williams' 15-yard reverse scoring pass to quarterback Matt Leinart to completely take the air out of the Wolverines.

The Not So Obvious – Of the dagger reverse-pass touchdown play, Michigan defensive tackle Grant Bowman said, "From my viewpoint, I thought it was a sweep, then I thought it was a reverse, and then I couldn't believe it when he (Williams) started to throw and I saw him (Leinart) wide open. They had me three times on that play."

The Obvious – USC quarterback Matt Leinart has had tremendous seasonal success throwing to sophomore All-American receiver Mike Williams all through the course of the 2003 season.

The Not So Obvious – In a true "reversal" of roles, it was poignant that Leinart be on the reception end of Williams' scoring toss. Aside from the trickery of the play, the final stealth moment of the play was the fact that Williams, like Leinart, is left-handed and completely fooled the Michigan defense as Big Mike was headed across to the left side
of the field with defenders coming up to tackle him and unaware of his southpaw status.

The Obvious – The tailgating before the game provided Brookside Golf Course an array of CD fight song music from USC and Michigan, the smell of the BBQ everywhere, and fans dressed in teams colors with footballs being tossed everywhere.

The Not So Obvious – Some fans went the extra mile in enjoying the Arroyo Seco surroundings. One family party actually had a Direct-TV satellite dish on the grass connected to a portable television set as the beverages flowed and sandwiches were being consumed.

The Obvious – Michigan had come out on fire all season in the first and second quarters and had blasted their opponents 220 points to 65, thus making USC defensive tackle Shaun Cody's first quarter 47-yard field goal block a game setting moment.

The Not So Obvious – On the field goal block, Cody informed, "You get a block out of a field goal, and it kind of sets the tone for the defensive line play."

The Obvious – The blocked field goal by the Trojans was certainly something Carroll's coaching staff must have picked up seeing film of Michigan.

The Not So Obvious – In each of Michigan's losses, there has been a blocked kick. In the loss to Oregon, the Wolverines had a blocked extra point and punt and similar problems at Iowa.

The Obvious – USC quarterback Matt Leinart was named the 2004 Rose Bowl MVP by throwing for three scores, receiving one score, and passing for 327 yards without an interception.

The Not So Obvious – One would think that the Rose Bowl MVP would get a trophy bigger than what looked like a small glass ashtray ornament you could win at the Los Angeles County Fair coin toss

The Obvious – Michigan quarterback John Navarre finished 27-of-46 passes for 271 yards and one touchdown pass.

The Not So Obvious – Once again, this generation's Wild Bunch turned quarterback Narvarre into an updated version of former UCLA quarterback Dennis Dummit, who took such a savage beating by the original Wild Bunch back in 1969.

The Obvious – USC linebacker coach Nick Holt, recently named head coach at Idaho, has been suffering recently with a difficult form of meningitis.

The Not So Obvious – Pete Carroll let it been known after the game that Holt has been sicker than publicized, and that the coach was in the hospital getting an I.V. Carroll didn't think Holt could coach on Thursday and was shocked when the fiery linebacker coach showed up for a night meeting before the game looking "yellow" and with an IV in his arm. Saint Pete said the players saw it and started chanting Holt's name in appreciation of his effort. Carroll said he didn't know how Holt was able to do the game.

The Obvious – Trojans' super senior receiver Keary Colbert had six receptions for 149 yards and two touchdown receptions and was the Trojans' main receiving threat.

The Not So Obvious – Again on New Year's Day, Colbert showed the nation why opposing coaches feared him as much as All-American Mike Williams. Keary became the Trojans all-time reception leader with his effort in the Rose Bowl but when asked about it, the humble Colbert said, "It won't last long, Mike (Williams) will break the record next year."

The Obvious - Michigan had won five of their last six bowl games, including a 1998 Rose Bowl win over Washington State that gave UM the national championship.

The Not So Obvious – Michigan has now lost four of their last five games played on the West Coast and probably has seen enough of the Trojans in Pasadena for awhile. The maize and blue may have to change the last words of their fight song, which includes "Champions of the West."

The Obvious – The Trojans' team bus was expected to arrive in front of the Rose Bowl for the "Trojan Walk" between 12:00 and 12:15.

The Not So Obvious – Due to traffic along Lincoln Street near John Muir High, the Trojans, even with a police escort, didn't arrive in front of the Rose Bowl until 12:25. Off the bus first came USC coach Pete Carroll flashing a smile and a "Fight On" for the highly charged and vocal Trojan following. After the coach came DB Marcell Allmond and coach Orgeron. As is his pre-game tradition, punter Tom Malone came out bouncing a football.

The Obvious. – The Trojan team wore Rose Bowl patches on their right shoulder for the game.

The Not So Obvious – The Trojans' yell and song girls also were wearing new uniform top that also had a Rose Bowl design.

The Obvious – Trojan fans have followed and waited for former Long Beach Poly defensive tackle Manual Wright, who watched USC games last season in the stands with his family, to make an impact during this 2003 season.

The Not So Obvious – With the Trojans leading 14-0 and Michigan driving, all that oozing potential displayed itself in the second quarter when Wright bull-rushed through a Michigan offensive lineman and racked Wolverine quarterback John Navarre. On the next play, Wright, who spent much of the early portion of training camp trying to get in shape, tipped a Navarre pass attempt.

The Obvious – Trojan Brandon Hancock started the 90th Rose Bowl at fullback.

The Not So Obvious – Norm Chow didn't waste time getting the oft-injured fullback into the minds of Michigan defenders by throwing to the former Clovis West star for 14 yards out of the backfield on USC's first offensive play.

The Obvious – The score at halftime was USC leading Michigan 14-0.

The Not So Obvious – It's a long way during halftime for the coaches to go from the Rose Bowl press box to the locker facilities and back. Trojan coach Norm Chow got the star treatment returning to the press box with ten minutes remaining during halftime as he sprinted some 150 yards around the playing field flanked by at least 17 yellowed jacketed security folks. A short time later, defensive coaches Greg Burns and Rocky Seto did the same procedure, but apparently didn't have the high ranking to get the security escort.

The Obvious – Michigan coach Lloyd Carr tried a number of ideas to try and get USC offensive coordinator Norm Chow and quarterback Matt Leinart out of rhythm.

The Not So Obvious – One strategy used by Michigan on defense was to leave 15 defenders on the field just prior to the Trojans' snap of the ball so that SC couldn't adjust to the Michigan personnel.

The Obvious – There was the usual list of Trojan celebs at the sidelines including the likes of Marcus Allen, Sam "Bam" Cunningham, Ronnie Lott, Sultan McCullough, and even comedian Will Ferrell was in the house.

The Not So Obvious – The one celebrity who would be considered Obvious, but whose presence is not always a given considering the space involved was Traveler, the Trojans' famed white horse. Trojan fans were especially excited, given security concerns, to have their beloved "Horse" inside the Bowl. Wonder if the horse needed security photo identification?

The Obvious – The Trojans super freshman Reggie Bush had a productive Rose Bowl rushing eight times for 41 yards (5.1 Ave.), receiving two passes for 42 yards (21.0 ave), and returning two kickoffs for 45 yards.

The Not So Obvious – While Bush was a major threat every moment he handled the pigskin, fellow freshman running back LenDale White quietly was on the receiving end of a Leinart "dump-off" and scored on a 6-yards pass breaking a tackle and slipping in for a score. LenDale also had eight carries for 26 yards and demonstrated he could move the pile between the Wolverine tackles when called upon.

The Obvious – Scalpers outside the Rose Bowl entrance were selling tickets in a wide variety of prices. One fella bought one at $200 and sat 35 roles up in Tunnel 7.

The Not So Obvious – One comical pair of scalpers on the intersectionof Lincoln and Washington were together with one holding up four tickets for sale while his buddy had a cardboard sign reading, "I Need Tickets." Talk about your oxymoron.

The Obvious – Michigan All-American tailback Chris Perry fell into the Burmuda Triangle of Tailbacks, better known as the USC defense.

The Not So Obvious – While showing glimpses of greatess and always a threat to put the Trojans in harm's way, Perry was limited to 85 yards in 23 carries, 50 yards less than his average. Give big credit to corner Will Poole and free safety Jason Leach, both of whom prevented Perry at different times a chance to take it the distance.

The Obvious – The Trojans' kicking game of both kicker Ryan Killeen and punter Tom Malone was almost flawless in its performance.

The Not So Obvious – Killen, who did miss on an early 39-yard field goal attempt that sailed right, was on the money on three kickoffs and prevented dangerous Wolverine Steve Breaston a number of times from even getting out of the end zone after USC scores.Killen set the tone on the opening kickoff by nailing it deep into the Michigan end zone. Malone averaged 46.7 on three punts and got enough hang time, as usual, to stop a Breaston patented return.

The Obvious – One very explosive Wolverine was receiver and kick returner Steve Breaston, the Big Ten Freshman of the Year.

The Not So Obvious – Breaston is definitely a talent. The Trojans were fortunate to "hold" Breaston to two rushes for 21 yards and six receptions for 61 yards. One of the nation's top punt returners, Breaston was unable to get one back against the Trojans and was even dropped by Troy's Justin Wyatt at the Michigan six yard line during a crucial moment in the game.

The Obvious – Perhaps with a national title at stake, USC fans were as loud and intense during this Rose Bowl as any remembered Pasadena appearances.

The Not So Obvious – The Trojan players were certainly aware of the "home" support. During a timeout after Justin Wyatt had dropped Michigan's Breaston on the aforementioned punt return attempt, USC fans behind the "USC" marked end zone started doing a yell with a rhythmic hand clap. Defensive linemen Shaun Cody and Frostee Rucker began nodding their heads and clapping with the adoring Trojan fans.

The Obvious – The Rose Bowl program was a beautiful 208-page color program that sold for a reasonable ten bucks.

The Not So Obvious – Loved the color mugs of both the Trojans and Wolverines. Pure class. It also appeared that the program's size had been reduced in terms of length and width.

The Obvious - Much has been made this season on the potential of Trojan freshmen receivers Steve Smith and Whitney Lewis.

The Not So Obvious – For all those prep players that may sign with the Trojans and needed further proof of Carroll and Chow's acceptance of playing true freshmen, there were Smith and Lewis out there for the Trojans' first offensive series ready to roll. While Lewis was not thrown a pass, Smith did have one nice grab for nine yards.

The Obvious – In the past ten years, the Rose Bowl has used a number of public address voices for the historic game.

The Not So Obvious – The current voice of the Bowl is UCLA football public address voice Chuck Taylor. So if you Trojans were thinking you were at a Bruin game, that was the reason. Unfortunately for the Bruin voice, he made two consecutive errant calls in the first quarter identifying one Wolverine tackler as USC's Mike Patterson on a sack of USC's Matt Leinart followed by a Frostee Rucker tackle of a Trojan.

The Obvious – The Trojans were very fortunate early in the game when Michigan receivers dropped some early throws that could have led to direct scores.

The Not So Obvious - Michigan was also fortunate to recover all three of its own fumbles, which would have added to the Wolverines eventual demise.

The Obvious - The sign of a well-coached team is the lack of penalties in a game.

The Not So Obvious – Both the Trojans and Wolverines displayed why they are two of the very best coached teams in the country as USC was flagged three times for 22 yards and Michigan twice for 10 yards.

The Obvious – The game lasted three hours and fifteen minutes.

The Not So Obvious – As usual, it just seemed to take that long getting in and out of the Rose Bowl parking lots.

The Obvious – USC linebacker Matt Grootegoed saw limited action during the course of the game.

The Not So Obvious – It was a basic miracle that the kid was even out there on the hallowed grass. Even on a bum leg, Groots made a great hit on UM tailback Perry on an attempted screen pass.

The Obvious – For the most part, the Trojans' offensive game plan was in total command.

The Not So Obvious – However, some eyebrows were raised when the Trojans had a commanding lead beginning the fourth quarter, and the USC elected to throw three straight incompletions, stopping the clock and giving Michigan valuable minutes of extra life. It figured that SC would run the ball looking for first downs and drain the mortal life out of the game clock.

The Obvious – Many of the Trojan fans and vocal spirit voices were located in the end zones making viewing of the game a "PlayStation" experience.

The Not So Obvious – This was actually a boon for fans as they got to see what the coaches see when they film a game or practice. From behind the end zone, you got a pretty good idea of decisions made by USC and Michigan players. Some of the "hits" from both teams were impressively aggressive.

The Obvious - ABC had their "Times Square Stadium" crew of John Saunders, Terry Bowden, and Craig James inside the Rose Bowl for pre, half, and post game comments.

The Not So Obvious – Fans were amazed with the portable outdoor studio provided by ABC. The stage and roof literally collapsed during game action. During play, the three ABC announcers stood at the corner of the end zone and watched the game, often far away from the contest.

The Obvious – Coach Pete Carroll's Trojans must now wait until late Sunday evening and the conclusion of the Sugar Bowl before all the ballots of the Associated Press media poll are counted.

The Not So Obvious – While the early "exit polls" indicate the Trojans will be named national champions, it still will be a few days before Heritage Hall gets championship trophy number nine. Of course, when you've waited twenty-five years for the grandest of college football honors, what's another couple of days?The Obvious – The present merged with the past and gave a glimpse of the future as the nation's top-ranked USC Trojans (12-1) provided compelling evidence for a national championship by humbling the No. 4 Michigan Wolverines 28-14 in the 90th Rose Bowl before 93,849 and a national television audience.

The Not So Obvious – It was Pete Carroll-appropriate that USC's probable ninth national championship came with a season-high nine sacks against Big Ten champion Michigan (10-3), consuming Wolverine quarterback John Navarre, who fell victim to a relentless, multi-directional Trojan defensive attack.

The Obvious – The Trojans must now wait for the conclusion of the Sugar Bowl before they can be anointed the 2003 Associated Press media poll champions.

The Not So Obvious – The Sugar Bowl wait is unnecessary according to the massive media covering the Rose Bowl. USA Today columnist Christine Brennan summed it up when she wrote, "After watching USC's impressive victory against Michigan in the Rose Bowl, I have only one question: Why are they even bothering with that other game Sunday night in New Orleans? It's over."

The Obvious – Michigan defense tackle Grant Bowman was asked if USC was the best team in the country and Bowman said, "Obviously."

The Not So Obvious – With Michigan having given up only 15 sacks in their previous 12 games, the look on Tony Pape, the huge Michigan offensive linemen was one of disbelief. The UM All-Big Ten tackle said, " It's a tremendously bad feeling to know what happened." The beating and speed Pape witnessed from the Trojans' defensive assault provided the big tackle a glazed appearance, the type of appearance one gets after being involved in a traffic collision.

The Obvious – If you plan to defeat the Trojans, given the past history of Pete Carroll and Norm Chow, never give these two coaching "wizards" extra weeks to work on a game plan.

The Not So Obvious – This was quite apparent to many of the Michigan players, especially offensive tackle Tony Pape. Pape said, "After we just saw the game they (USC) played, they played us perfectly. They had a great game plan. They played a great game."

The Obvious – During the season, the Trojans averaged 42 points per game, but on Thursday, USC scored "only" 28 points against a fine Michigan defense.

The Not So Obvious – For those fussbudgets, the score could have easily been in the 40 Club had Troy not missed an early field goal, a Keary Colbert "touchdown" reception not been ruled an incomplete pass, and had there not been a Trojan quarterback fumble exchange near the Michigan goal line. Ah, but whose counting when you double-up anyway on the 6 1/2 Vegas odds for a USC win?

The Obvious – Michigan was stacking eight Wolverines in the box and Trojans' offensive coordinator Norm Chow decided to tease the maize and blue with token runs for most of the first half.

The Not So Obvious – It was almost unreal to see the Michigan strategy daring the Trojans to pass. Asking Norm Chow to order pass after to pass is like asking my wife and her mother-in-law if they would like to go to Robinson's-May for the post holiday sales.

The Obvious – The two biggest plays of the game were the "foot" carom interception by USC linebacker Lofa Tatupu and the reverse touchdown pass from receiver Mike Williams to quarterback Matt Leinart.

The Not So Obvious – To win a championship in a championship game, it takes both luck and skill and those two plays illustrate why the Trojans will soon be called national champs. Great teams generally get good luck as icing for a football cake.

The Obvious –Due to the design of the Trojans' defense and the reaction by the Michigan offensive line, linebacker Lofa Tatupu said after the games he had never seen the Trojans move this fast on a field. It also doubtful that Tatupu ever moved as fast with the ball as when he saw the Michigan end zone. From afar, he looked like his daddy, Mosi, the Coke machine former Trojan fullback.

The Not So Obvious – Moving the fastest appeared to be All-America end Kenechi Udeze, who had three sacks, and Will Poole, who had eight tackles. Poole, who also had two corner blitz sacks, was especially effective in preventing UM All-America tailback Chris Perry a number of times from breaking long runs on cutback plays.

The Obvious – A number of major high school all-star games are being played this weekend across the country with a number of high profile USC recruits.

The Not So Obvious – One has to wonder what effect Thursday's game may have on those Trojan recruits that are down in San Antonio for the national game that will be seen Saturday morning on NBC. You might want to tune in to see if one of the prep prodigies gives a verbal to the cardinal and gold.

The Obvious – Expect USC offensive coordinator Norm Chow to be asked next week at the Atlanta Coaches Convention how and when he decided to run that third quarter Mike Williams' 15-yard reverse scoring pass to quarterback Matt Leinart to completely take the air out of the Wolverines.

The Not So Obvious – Of the dagger reverse-pass touchdown play, Michigan defensive tackle Grant Bowman said, "From my viewpoint, I thought it was a sweep, then I thought it was a reverse, and then I couldn't believe it when he (Williams) started to throw and I saw him (Leinart) wide open. They had me three times on that play."

The Obvious – USC quarterback Matt Leinart has had tremendous seasonal success throwing to sophomore All-American receiver Mike Williams all through the course of the 2003 season.

The Not So Obvious – In a true "reversal" of roles, it was poignant that Leinart be on the reception end of Williams' scoring toss. Aside from the trickery of the play, the final stealth moment of the play was the fact that Williams, like Leinart, is left-handed and completely fooled the Michigan defense as Big Mike was headed across to the left side
of the field with defenders coming up to tackle him and unaware of his southpaw status.

The Obvious – The tailgating before the game provided Brookside Golf Course an array of CD fight song music from USC and Michigan, the smell of the BBQ everywhere, and fans dressed in teams colors with footballs being tossed everywhere.

The Not So Obvious – Some fans went the extra mile in enjoying the Arroyo Seco surroundings. One family party actually had a Direct-TV satellite dish on the grass connected to a portable television set as the beverages flowed and sandwiches were being consumed.

The Obvious – Michigan had come out on fire all season in the first and second quarters and had blasted their opponents 220 points to 65, thus making USC defensive tackle Shaun Cody's first quarter 47-yard field goal block a game setting moment.

The Not So Obvious – On the field goal block, Cody informed, "You get a block out of a field goal, and it kind of sets the tone for the defensive line play."

The Obvious – The blocked field goal by the Trojans was certainly something Carroll's coaching staff must have picked up seeing film of Michigan.

The Not So Obvious – In each of Michigan's losses, there has been a blocked kick. In the loss to Oregon, the Wolverines had a blocked extra point and punt and similar problems at Iowa.

The Obvious – USC quarterback Matt Leinart was named the 2004 Rose Bowl MVP by throwing for three scores, receiving one score, and passing for 327 yards without an interception.

The Not So Obvious – One would think that the Rose Bowl MVP would get a trophy bigger than what looked like a small glass ashtray ornament you could win at the Los Angeles County Fair coin toss

The Obvious – Michigan quarterback John Navarre finished 27-of-46 passes for 271 yards and one touchdown pass.

The Not So Obvious – Once again, this generation's Wild Bunch turned quarterback Narvarre into an updated version of former UCLA quarterback Dennis Dummit, who took such a savage beating by the original Wild Bunch back in 1969.

The Obvious – USC linebacker coach Nick Holt, recently named head coach at Idaho, has been suffering recently with a difficult form of meningitis.

The Not So Obvious – Pete Carroll let it been known after the game that Holt has been sicker than publicized, and that the coach was in the hospital getting an I.V. Carroll didn't think Holt could coach on Thursday and was shocked when the fiery linebacker coach showed up for a night meeting before the game looking "yellow" and with an IV in his arm. Saint Pete said the players saw it and started chanting Holt's name in appreciation of his effort. Carroll said he didn't know how Holt was able to do the game.

The Obvious – Trojans' super senior receiver Keary Colbert had six receptions for 149 yards and two touchdown receptions and was the Trojans' main receiving threat.

The Not So Obvious – Again on New Year's Day, Colbert showed the nation why opposing coaches feared him as much as All-American Mike Williams. Keary became the Trojans all-time reception leader with his effort in the Rose Bowl but when asked about it, the humble Colbert said, "It won't last long, Mike (Williams) will break the record next year."

The Obvious - Michigan had won five of their last six bowl games, including a 1998 Rose Bowl win over Washington State that gave UM the national championship.

The Not So Obvious – Michigan has now lost four of their last five games played on the West Coast and probably has seen enough of the Trojans in Pasadena for awhile. The maize and blue may have to change the last words of their fight song, which includes "Champions of the West."

The Obvious – The Trojans' team bus was expected to arrive in front of the Rose Bowl for the "Trojan Walk" between 12:00 and 12:15.

The Not So Obvious – Due to traffic along Lincoln Street near John Muir High, the Trojans, even with a police escort, didn't arrive in front of the Rose Bowl until 12:25. Off the bus first came USC coach Pete Carroll flashing a smile and a "Fight On" for the highly charged and vocal Trojan following. After the coach came DB Marcell Allmond and coach Orgeron. As is his pre-game tradition, punter Tom Malone came out bouncing a football.

The Obvious. – The Trojan team wore Rose Bowl patches on their right shoulder for the game.

The Not So Obvious – The Trojans' yell and song girls also were wearing new uniform top that also had a Rose Bowl design.

The Obvious – Trojan fans have followed and waited for former Long Beach Poly defensive tackle Manual Wright, who watched USC games last season in the stands with his family, to make an impact during this 2003 season.

The Not So Obvious – With the Trojans leading 14-0 and Michigan driving, all that oozing potential displayed itself in the second quarter when Wright bull-rushed through a Michigan offensive lineman and racked Wolverine quarterback John Navarre. On the next play, Wright, who spent much of the early portion of training camp trying to get in shape, tipped a Navarre pass attempt.

The Obvious – Trojan Brandon Hancock started the 90th Rose Bowl at fullback.

The Not So Obvious – Norm Chow didn't waste time getting the oft-injured fullback into the minds of Michigan defenders by throwing to the former Clovis West star for 14 yards out of the backfield on USC's first offensive play.

The Obvious – The score at halftime was USC leading Michigan 14-0.

The Not So Obvious – It's a long way during halftime for the coaches to go from the Rose Bowl press box to the locker facilities and back. Trojan coach Norm Chow got the star treatment returning to the press box with ten minutes remaining during halftime as he sprinted some 150 yards around the playing field flanked by at least 17 yellowed jacketed security folks. A short time later, defensive coaches Greg Burns and Rocky Seto did the same procedure, but apparently didn't have the high ranking to get the security escort.

The Obvious – Michigan coach Lloyd Carr tried a number of ideas to try and get USC offensive coordinator Norm Chow and quarterback Matt Leinart out of rhythm.

The Not So Obvious – One strategy used by Michigan on defense was to leave 15 defenders on the field just prior to the Trojans' snap of the ball so that SC couldn't adjust to the Michigan personnel.

The Obvious – There was the usual list of Trojan celebs at the sidelines including the likes of Marcus Allen, Sam "Bam" Cunningham, Ronnie Lott, Sultan McCullough, and even comedian Will Ferrell was in the house.

The Not So Obvious – The one celebrity who would be considered Obvious, but whose presence is not always a given considering the space involved was Traveler, the Trojans' famed white horse. Trojan fans were especially excited, given security concerns, to have their beloved "Horse" inside the Bowl. Wonder if the horse needed security photo identification?

The Obvious – The Trojans super freshman Reggie Bush had a productive Rose Bowl rushing eight times for 41 yards (5.1 Ave.), receiving two passes for 42 yards (21.0 ave), and returning two kickoffs for 45 yards.

The Not So Obvious – While Bush was a major threat every moment he handled the pigskin, fellow freshman running back LenDale White quietly was on the receiving end of a Leinart "dump-off" and scored on a 6-yards pass breaking a tackle and slipping in for a score. LenDale also had eight carries for 26 yards and demonstrated he could move the pile between the Wolverine tackles when called upon.

The Obvious – Scalpers outside the Rose Bowl entrance were selling tickets in a wide variety of prices. One fella bought one at $200 and sat 35 roles up in Tunnel 7.

The Not So Obvious – One comical pair of scalpers on the intersectionof Lincoln and Washington were together with one holding up four tickets for sale while his buddy had a cardboard sign reading, "I Need Tickets." Talk about your oxymoron.

The Obvious – Michigan All-American tailback Chris Perry fell into the Burmuda Triangle of Tailbacks, better known as the USC defense.

The Not So Obvious – While showing glimpses of greatess and always a threat to put the Trojans in harm's way, Perry was limited to 85 yards in 23 carries, 50 yards less than his average. Give big credit to corner Will Poole and free safety Jason Leach, both of whom prevented Perry at different times a chance to take it the distance.

The Obvious – The Trojans' kicking game of both kicker Ryan Killeen and punter Tom Malone was almost flawless in its performance.

The Not So Obvious – Killen, who did miss on an early 39-yard field goal attempt that sailed right, was on the money on three kickoffs and prevented dangerous Wolverine Steve Breaston a number of times from even getting out of the end zone after USC scores.Killen set the tone on the opening kickoff by nailing it deep into the Michigan end zone. Malone averaged 46.7 on three punts and got enough hang time, as usual, to stop a Breaston patented return.

The Obvious – One very explosive Wolverine was receiver and kick returner Steve Breaston, the Big Ten Freshman of the Year.

The Not So Obvious – Breaston is definitely a talent. The Trojans were fortunate to "hold" Breaston to two rushes for 21 yards and six receptions for 61 yards. One of the nation's top punt returners, Breaston was unable to get one back against the Trojans and was even dropped by Troy's Justin Wyatt at the Michigan six yard line during a crucial moment in the game.

The Obvious – Perhaps with a national title at stake, USC fans were as loud and intense during this Rose Bowl as any remembered Pasadena appearances.

The Not So Obvious – The Trojan players were certainly aware of the "home" support. During a timeout after Justin Wyatt had dropped Michigan's Breaston on the aforementioned punt return attempt, USC fans behind the "USC" marked end zone started doing a yell with a rhythmic hand clap. Defensive linemen Shaun Cody and Frostee Rucker began nodding their heads and clapping with the adoring Trojan fans.

The Obvious – The Rose Bowl program was a beautiful 208-page color program that sold for a reasonable ten bucks.

The Not So Obvious – Loved the color mugs of both the Trojans and Wolverines. Pure class. It also appeared that the program's size had been reduced in terms of length and width.

The Obvious - Much has been made this season on the potential of Trojan freshmen receivers Steve Smith and Whitney Lewis.

The Not So Obvious – For all those prep players that may sign with the Trojans and needed further proof of Carroll and Chow's acceptance of playing true freshmen, there were Smith and Lewis out there for the Trojans' first offensive series ready to roll. While Lewis was not thrown a pass, Smith did have one nice grab for nine yards.

The Obvious – In the past ten years, the Rose Bowl has used a number of public address voices for the historic game.

The Not So Obvious – The current voice of the Bowl is UCLA football public address voice Chuck Taylor. So if you Trojans were thinking you were at a Bruin game, that was the reason. Unfortunately for the Bruin voice, he made two consecutive errant calls in the first quarter identifying one Wolverine tackler as USC's Mike Patterson on a sack of USC's Matt Leinart followed by a Frostee Rucker tackle of a Trojan.

The Obvious – The Trojans were very fortunate early in the game when Michigan receivers dropped some early throws that could have led to direct scores.

The Not So Obvious - Michigan was also fortunate to recover all three of its own fumbles, which would have added to the Wolverines eventual demise.

The Obvious - The sign of a well-coached team is the lack of penalties in a game.

The Not So Obvious – Both the Trojans and Wolverines displayed why they are two of the very best coached teams in the country as USC was flagged three times for 22 yards and Michigan twice for 10 yards.

The Obvious – The game lasted three hours and fifteen minutes.

The Not So Obvious – As usual, it just seemed to take that long getting in and out of the Rose Bowl parking lots.

The Obvious – USC linebacker Matt Grootegoed saw limited action during the course of the game.

The Not So Obvious – It was a basic miracle that the kid was even out there on the hallowed grass. Even on a bum leg, Groots made a great hit on UM tailback Perry on an attempted screen pass.

The Obvious – For the most part, the Trojans' offensive game plan was in total command.

The Not So Obvious – However, some eyebrows were raised when the Trojans had a commanding lead beginning the fourth quarter, and the USC elected to throw three straight incompletions, stopping the clock and giving Michigan valuable minutes of extra life. It figured that SC would run the ball looking for first downs and drain the mortal life out of the game clock.

The Obvious – Many of the Trojan fans and vocal spirit voices were located in the end zones making viewing of the game a "PlayStation" experience.

The Not So Obvious – This was actually a boon for fans as they got to see what the coaches see when they film a game or practice. From behind the end zone, you got a pretty good idea of decisions made by USC and Michigan players. Some of the "hits" from both teams were impressively aggressive.

The Obvious - ABC had their "Times Square Stadium" crew of John Saunders, Terry Bowden, and Craig James inside the Rose Bowl for pre, half, and post game comments.

The Not So Obvious – Fans were amazed with the portable outdoor studio provided by ABC. The stage and roof literally collapsed during game action. During play, the three ABC announcers stood at the corner of the end zone and watched the game, often far away from the contest.

The Obvious – Coach Pete Carroll's Trojans must now wait until late Sunday evening and the conclusion of the Sugar Bowl before all the ballots of the Associated Press media poll are counted.

The Not So Obvious – While the early "exit polls" indicate the Trojans will be named national champions, it still will be a few days before Heritage Hall gets championship trophy number nine. Of course, when you've waited twenty-five years for the grandest of college football honors, what's another couple of days?

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