Ain't It Sweet

The victory over the Bruins today was huge, absolutely huge! There are so many important aspects to this victory that it will take a while to mention them all. But make no mistake. Nothing was more awe inspiring and enjoyable than simply watching the Trojans totally dismantle and destroy the UCLA Bruins, the first such impressive victory against them in many many years

Well, I wanted to just take it all in for a couple of hours before trying to put these thoughts into writing.  Time sure does fly when you are having fun and man o man, am I having fun.  The victory over the Bruins today was huge, absolutely huge!  There are so many important aspects to this victory that it will take a while to mention them all. But make no mistake.  Nothing was more awe inspiring and enjoyable than simply watching the Trojans totally dismantle and destroy the UCLA Bruins, the first such impressive victory against them in many many years.
I have already gone on record as being an instant Carroll convert when I saw him at his introductory news conference. I would be a total liar to say that there have not been times this year when I  began to wonder what in the world was going on  (just ask the poor fans sitting near me at South Bend) and whether something was indeed wrong.  I never wavered in my support and admiration of  Pete's youth-like enthusiasm. To this day I still think that such an open display of emotion is just what  college football needs.  When a player excels or when something goes very right or wrong, it is refreshing to see a coach display those ever present human emotions. I loved seeing Carroll get all hyped at today's victory.  His reaction to his initial victory dousing was a thing of beauty.  He showed some great moves of his own by evading the Gatorade. Unfortunately for him, the players showed the persistence that he has tried to instill in them and they nailed him effectively with that second effort.
From a football standpoint, much was accomplished today.  Obviously, the victory itself was of the utmost importance. However, I think another vitally important aspect of this game is that it seemed to prove that this team never quit on Coach Carroll and they have improved as the season progressed. In my opinion, that is crucial. I respect many other's opinions and one friend in particular expressed signficant concern that Carroll's pro teams seemed to worsen as the season progressed.  That thought did linger in my mind but I no longer fear regression. Quite the opposite seems to be true. The number of mindboggling dumb mistakes has decreased in a major way.
The players have shown that they can indeed FINISH what they start.  That was not always the case earlier in the season, but it is reality now.
There has been much talk, most of it negative, about this edition of the Oline. Nobody would mistake this group for the line that had Budde, VanHorn and Munoz. On the other hand, there has been significant improvement and for this huge rivalry game, it was the much maligned young Trojan Oline that more than held its own against the Dline and D that was considered the premier unit in the Pac-10. On the other side of the ball, the Defense played outstanding, inspired football. They were simply suffocating.  In addition to that, they were lucky. That is most often a lethal combination.
They were lucky that Poli-Dixon did not catch the ball well, they were lucky that Antuan Simmons has incredible coordination and timing, and they were just plain awesome in their execution.  The young trio of Udeze, Patterson and most notably Shaun Cody had terrific games and they should form the nucleus of a unit that will hopefully be the equal to any in college football for years to come.
I had posted earlier that I thought much of the game would depend on Carson Palmer and I do think it played out that way to a large extent. Carson had an absolutely terrific and efficient game. He used the best judgement that I have seen him use in his entire SC career.  One play down in the UCLA redzone represented what I thought was a terrific step up. When blitzed, he backtracked and ran out of the pocket.  So many times in the past he would eat the ball or throw a pick. Not this time--nope. This time he got outside and threw the ball away--well over everyone's head and that was huge. The only person who even had a distant chance was Pitts.  It kept us in fieldgoal distance, Davis made the kick and the lead was all that much more impressive.
For those recruits who were on the fence, this game did nothing to hurt USC's chances.  This was another win in this hard fought series and one can now make the argument that USC is turning things around in the right direction.  We are not there yet, but with the addition of some much needed talent, the sky appears to be the limit. The head coach is dynamic and well liked.  He is indeed living up to his promise of providing an ATTACK DEFENSE and guys like yours truly love that approach.  There is a aura around this team that has not been there for a long time. It is hard not to believe that SC is definitely a team on its way back to the upper echelon of college football.  A win in a bowl game will give the team a winning record and a great start to next season. Not only is USC going to be good, I have a strong feeling that they are getting that "self created luck back" .  For those of you who wonder what that means, I refer you to Kris Richard returning a pick all the way at the end of the game to assure victory and I say, "think back to the Oregon State game"  When SC won that game which required the OSU kicker to miss two very makeable kicks, I honestly began to feel something change. Let's hope I was  right.  I have to say that I just have a feeling about Carroll and about the fortunes of the USC Football Program.

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