O/NSO - Final bye week edition

While a number of Pac-10 rivalry games this weekend will help determine bowl pecking order and eligibility, a new bowl has emerged for USC fans and it's called the Application Bowl, a reference to Dec. 6th, the date when the University sends out the outcome of the Orange-Rose Bowl ticket lottery.

The Obvious – While a number of Pac-10 rivalry games this weekend will help determine bowl pecking order and eligibility, a new bowl has emerged for USC fans and it's called the Application Bowl, a reference to Dec. 6th, the date when the University sends out the outcome of the Orange-Rose Bowl ticket lottery.

The Not So Obvious – With just 16,000 seats allocated for the BCS Orange Bowl and 32,000 seats awaiting Trojan fans for the unequaled Rose Bowl, you talk about a moral dilemma? There isn't a Trojan fan with a heartbeat that wouldn't want to see their darlings capture their second straight national championship, but who can forget the marvelous time had by all at last year's Rose Bowl affair against Michigan.

The Obvious – A ticket for the Orange Bowl goes for $150 while a Rose Bowl ducat sells for $125.

The Not So Obvious – So just $25 dollars separates the cost of the two bowls, but if you ask the Trojan players, they'll take the Orange Bowl, thank you very much, and who can blame them. The real intrigue is if the Trojans go to Miami, just how many brave souls with no ticket(s) in hand will still make the journey across country and take their chances. If Auburn is there, you're talking about an adjacent state to Florida while Oklahoma brings high rolling wallets.

The Obvious – Trojan fans will again treat the ticket lottery like a nervous father in a maternity ward.

The Not So Obvious – Even more pressure was added to this year's selection process with the announcement that the lottery "will be weighted based on years and number of season tickets purchased."

The Obvious - While it's rivalry weekend for most of the Pac-10 Conference, the top-ranked USC Trojans (10-0, 7-0), thanks to the schedule maker and the American Broadcasting Company, are enjoying their final bye week reconstituting for the final BCS challenges of the Irish and the Bruins.

The Not So Obvious – While a bye week almost always brings renewed hope for injured players and for the Trojans, the calm before the storm, the reality is the same with Notre Dame and UCLA, both of whom are experiencing the near same set of circumstances. Only time will tell whose bye week(s) was the most beneficial.

The Obvious – One thing the Trojans' bye week won't solve is the healing of defensive tackle Manuel Wright's ankle.

The Not So Obvious - The thing about Manny is that despite his inconsistent play at times, he seems to always make big plays in big games. At 6-foot-6, Manuel makes life difficult for opposing quarterbacks, and he would have been a real size factor for 6-foot-4 Brady Quinn of Notre Dame and 6-foot-3 Drew Olson of UCLA.

The Obvious – One can talk all they want about the remaining schedules of Auburn and Oklahoma, but both teams would be challenged if their BCS fate were placed in front of their two biggest rivals on back-to-back weekends.

The Not So Obvious – For the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame, word is already coming from South Bend that the Sons' of Rockne, despite their highs and lows, are coming to the Coliseum to redeem their season. Recently South Bend Tribune columnist Jason Kelly said, " It would be typical of this Notre Dame team to travel to Los Angeles in two weeks and win, punctuating a season full of question marks with another exclamation point."

The Obvious – The pressure is off the bowl picture for UCLA thanks to their upset last weekend of the Oregon Ducks.

The Not So Obvious – UCLA will have even a greater opportunity to digest the Trojans with three weeks off and a chance to watch the Notre Dame game and film. Even Bruins' coach Dorrell hinted that his team will use the extra bye time to put in stuff to achieve what would be one of the greatest Bruin upsets, considering they could wipe the potential national championship grin from the Trojans' Heritage Hall face.

The Obvious – The Trojans' game with the Irish has long been a Coliseum sellout.

The Not So Obvious – Game tickets for the intersectional classic are going for as low as $65 in Section 27 and as high as $1,250 for Section 22.

The Obvious – It is Mike Garrett's dream that Los Angeles has become so attached to the number one Trojans that all attendance records are being smashed like a Matt Grootegoed tackle.

The Not So Obvious – Trojan football has become such a southland event that Mrs. O/NSO asked if she could go to both the Notre Dame and UCLA games. How quickly the little cheesehead jumped off her upended Wisconsin bandwagon and climbed aboard her husband's Trojan horse. Easy, Traveler, we have enough room for one more.

The Obvious – According to UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero, the UCLA game is already sold out for the Trojans visit to Pasadena on Dec. 4th.

The Not So Obvious – Game tickets for the regular season finale are going for as low as $109 in Section 27L and as high as $1,800 for a Rose Bowl suite.

The Obvious – The Auburn Tigers, a potential BCS opponent of the Trojans, have found a real gem in former UCLA offensive coordinator Al Borges, who has done what Tiger coach Tommy Tuberville was unable to do – build a big-time offense around some already outstanding talent.

The Not So Obvious – You've just got to love Tubervilles' comment of "I'd hate to play us." Tommy, we know you're BCS politicking as would Pete Carroll, but the O/NSO goes out on a limb and predicts if your Tigers and the Trojans are selected for the Orange Bowl, the Trojans will show up.

The Obvious – Leave it to the SEC's Nick Saban and Auburn's Tommy Tubbervile to announce that their conference is as good as any in America.

The Not So Obvious – Computer master Jeff Sagarin says this week that for the seventh straight week, the Pac-10 is the best conference in the nation. Nanny, nanny, nanny.

The Obvious – HBO's Bryant Gumbel was once a sports anchor for NBC in Los Angeles.

The Not So Obvious – Gumbel was in town recently doing a piece on Pete Carroll and the Trojans for his "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel." The USC story will air this Tuesday evening on HBO at 10:00 p.m.

The Obvious – That magazine bible of USC football, We Are SC, has hit the stands with the November issue.

The Not So Obvious – Local beat writers who have seen the latest issue have given the thumbs-up signal. With increased recruiting information, photos, and inside articles on all things USC football, Trojan fans would be well satisfied to get their facemasks on a copy.

The Obvious – It must be that time of the year when the BCS natives are complaining about the Trojans' strength of schedule.

The Not So Obvious – No doubt about that, Timmy. Starting with ACC leader and No. 15 Virginia Tech, a smashing 55-6 winner over Maryland on Thursday night, to No. 4 Cal, this Trojan schedule sure looks a relative of Lassie….not.

The Obvious – The Heisman campaign heated up this week with the traditional media blitz for Trojan quarterback Matt Leinart, who admits to knowing his next two weeks against the Irish and Bruins will have a big say in the voting matter.

The Not So Obvious – With the Trojans striving for a national title, just when is enough is enough of a Heisman distraction? With Leinart saying he naturally follows the other "candidates," when does Lefty's concentration and pressure with this symbolic award effect him and his team? We will find the answers in the next two weeks.

The Obvious – Blue and Gold Illustrated is a respected fan publication calling itself "America's foremost authority on Fighting Irish Football."

The Not So Obvious – In their pre-game USC story out this week, B&G said, "Unlike the past two years, this one could come down to a late drive. Given what's transpired this year, an Irish victory would not be as stunning as some would make it out to be." B&G predicts a Trojan victory 24-17.

The Obvious – The Trojans will finish their last two games being televised nationally on ABC.

The Not So Obvious – So while you're waiting patiently, these is a fun Saturday of Pac-10 rivalry games for your viewing entertainment. At 12:30 p.m., it's "Win it for Buddy" Stanford at "Please Trojans, win so we can play in Pasadena" Cal on FSN. There is twin viewing at 4:00 p.m. with "Duck and cover" Oregon at "The fog is just starting to lift" Oregon St. on FSN and "Mother make it stop " Washington at " Chillin'" Washington State on ABC.

The Obvious – Relaxation time for the Trojans and their patient fans is just about over as this weekend marks the end of the beginning in anticipation of USC's vaunted rivals.

The Not So Obvious – Currently a national sports website is asking fans to rank a large selection of rivalries. There were your usual customers like Ohio State-Michigan, Army-Navy, Georgia-Georgia Tech. At last check, USC was still the only school listed to have two major rivals, Notre Dame and UCLA, as part of the ranking process, a process that will capture the nation on the upcoming successive Saturdays.

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