O/NSO - Texas edition

The moment of truth is arriving for the No. 1 ranked Trojans of the University of Southern California and their date with college football destiny. Nothing much more to add here except make sure the car has a full tank of gas, notebook and pen are ready to roar, and trust Pete Carroll's Trojans are prepared to chant "Wartime," We Ready," and just plain "We Are The Champions" before, during, and after college football's biggest game of the year.

The Obvious – With the enchanting, silhouetted darkness of the San Gabriel Mountains as the historical backdrop, the literary lights of college football lore will shine down on the 92nd Rose Bowl game as the No. 1-ranked USC Trojans (12-0) will attempt to emblazon their storied program with a record third consecutive national title and all that stands in the way is the undefeated and No.2-ranked Texas Longhorns (12-0), who will bring Lone Star determination before 92,000 fans and a massive national television audience (5:20 p.m., ABC, PST).

The Not So Obvious – Much has been made of the experience factor that Texas has already been to the Rose Bowl last year where they defeated Michigan, thanks to a brilliant performance by quarterback Vince Young. However, playing Michigan in the Rose Bowl isn't the same as playing USC in the Rose Bowl. It would be like saying that Texas playing Michigan at Notre Dame Stadium is the same as playing the Irish at Notre Dame Stadium. No sir, playing the Trojans in the Rose Bowl, which is literally the Cardinal and Gold's second home, is not the same animal.

The Obvious – This will be the Trojans 45th appearance in the famed saucer in the Arroyo Seco section of Pasadena, where their record is 28-16.

The Not So Obvious – While you will need to cut the pressure and stress with a power saw for Wednesday night's heavyweight bout, there is some nostalgia here for a bright, sunny New Years Day Rose Bowl. For those that experienced last year's BCS night championship in Miami, there will be comparisons of atmosphere between 2006 Rose Bowl and the 2005 Orange Bowl. The Orange Bowl had an adjacent carnival next to the stadium. Wednesday, there will be an ESPN fun zone located on the grounds of the Rose Bowl, and now that parking at Brookside Golf Course is off limits due to the recent rain, it's possible a majority of the crowd may arrive by noon, adding to a festive buildup and can't you wait for the Trojan Walk?

The Obvious – The Trojans, who carry a 34-game winning streak into the national title game, opened as 6-point favorites to defeat the Longhorns.

The Not So Obvious – The Trojans will be lead by arguably the greatest backfield in the history of college football in 2005 Heisman Trophy winning tailback Reggie Bush and 2004 Heisman winning quarterback Matt Leinart, while Texas will present arguably next year's Heisman frontrunner, quarterback Vince Young. While both offenses are dynamite, it will probably get down to defense, where some would argue Texas has the edge. However, the key to remember is how out-of-conference opponents have fared against Pete Carroll and does anybody want to compete against the Minister of defense with a month to prepare? Understandable Mack Brown's Longhorns do and they have expressed that sentiment.

The Obvious – The Texas players are saying that this game will determine which state, Texas or California, plays the best football.

The Not So Obvious – Of the starting 22 players on offense and defense on Wednesday, the Trojans figure to start 16 Californians while Texas will start 20 Texans.

The Obvious – There has been the perception that Texas has been very outspoken about what they may or may not do to the Trojans on Wednesday.

The Not So Obvious – If such "smack talk" exists, it didn't make itself evident outwardly during the two teams recent trip to Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure. In fact, members of the Trojan party told the O/NSO that both teams got along just splendidly on a number of Disney rides and even rode California Adventure's Tower of Terror together. Of course, when you ride the Tower of Terror, a fast-drop ride that literally levitates you from your seat, even the worst of friends can become "homies" out of shear fright.

The Obvious – Weather forecast for Wednesday's titanic at the Rose Bowl calls for partly cloudy and a high of 71 degrees.

The Not So Obvious – The real weather forecast is whether the Trojan or the Longhorns are the more improved team since the beginning of the season. Let's see, Texas won at Ohio St. 25-22, USC won at Notre Dame 34-31, and Ohio State beat Notre Dame 34-20 in Monday afternoon's Fiesta Bowl. So, Texas won their big one in Columbus in September, the Trojans made their legendary comeback in South Bend in October, and now here we are in January. Whether the Trojans can contain one superstar in Vince Young and whether the Longhorns can contain four Trojan superstars in Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush, LenDale White, and Dwayne Jarrett remains to be seen. Logic says four is better than one, but college football history is full of double-threat quarterbacks and the Trojans have had their defensive challenges with the likes of dual threats like Kansas State's Ell Roberson. As for the costly game of turnovers, this is one whether report that remains as cloudy as to the effectiveness of either defense.

The Obvious – Wednesday night's game will be telecast at 5:00 p.m. (PST) on ABC with Keith Jackson, Dan Fouts, Todd Harris, and Holly Rowe.

The Not So Obvious – The national ESPN radio broadcast team will consist of Ron Franklin, Bob Davie, Dave Ryan, Dave Revsine, and Sean Salisbury. Okay, former Notre Dame coach Davie sucks and tends to be anti-SC, but Trojan fans should get comfort from Salisbury, the former Trojan quarterback.

The Obvious – The Trojans will have their 1540 broadcast team of Pete "How Do You Do!" Arbogast, Paul McDonald, and John Jackson calling the action.

The Not So Obvious – The 1540 broadcast will be of particular value for Trojan fans who want player insight into performing in the Granddaddy of Them All. Former Trojan All-America quarterback McDonald played in two Rose Bowl victories in 1979 and 1980 while former All Pac-10 receiver Jackson made three straight trips to Pasadena in 1988, 1989, and 1990.

The Obvious – There have been an overwhelming request for press credentials for Wednesday's game.

The Not So Obvious – Were media requests really for the game or for Tuesday night's big media party at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Beverly Hills?

The Obvious – An important question in any bowl game is who are the officials and from what conference are they coming from?

The Not So Obvious – When asked that question after Monday night's closed Trojan practice, special teams coach Sam Anno paused for a moment and said, "I believe they are Big Ten officials."

The Obvious – Pete Carroll is not a proponent of instant replay.

The Not So Obvious – Instant replay will be used for the Rose Bowl under BCS bylaws.

The Obvious – Both the Trojans and the Longhorns will arrive at the game approximately two hours before kickoff with police escorts.

The Not So Obvious – How much attention is being paid to detail for Wednesday's game? Even the media shuttle from the Beverly Hilton is to the Rose Bowl is receiving police escorts.

The Obvious – This is the first time a Pete Carroll coached team has played a Mack Brown coached team.

The Not So Obvious – This is, however, not the first time Mack Brown has played the Trojans. Brown ruined John Robinson's return to Troy in 1993 when the Brown-coached North Carolina Tar Heels stomped the Trojans 31-9 in the Disneyland Pigskin Classic, which wasn't. Brown unleashed a devastating option attack to march up and down the field on that day, something Trojan fans should be aware of when Texas QB Vince Young uses the option even from the shotgun.

The Obvious – The Trojans' offense is averaging 50.0 points per game.

The Not So Obvious – The Texas defense is allowing 14.6 points per game.

The Obvious – Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart will be the first Heisman backfield when they face the Longhorns in the Rose Bowl on Wednesday.

The Not So Obvious – The history making Heisman Trophy winners are 37-1 together. Fair or unfair, much of their gridiron legacy in this generation's view will be based on the Rose Bowl result. A win and they will always be the Trojan measuring stick while a loss may unfairly focus on what might have been. Such is the fickleness of our sports society.

The Obvious – Trojan coaches Lane Kiffin and Steve Sarkisian have formed a very competent duo as offensive coordinator and assistant head coach, respectively, but despite their spotless record thus far, they, too, will be evaluated on Wednesday's outcome, right or wrong.

The Not So Obvious – The same could be said of Texas defensive coordinator Gene Chizik, called by many the best defensive coordinator in college football. Hey, what did Pete Carroll do wrong? The Trojans are well versed in the methods of Chizak from his days at Auburn, an opponent the Trojans beat twice (24-17& 23-0) with Chizak as the Tigers' defensive coordinator. Chizik. has a 27-game winning streak when you include his 13-0 run at Auburn last year, plus two wins at the end of 2003. After Wednesday, Czhizik either becomes the nation's guru or another mortally wounded coaching victim of the Trojan offensive irresistible force.

The Obvious – There has been a strange perception under the Carroll years that the Trojans don't play physical football.

The Not So Obvious – Don't tell Gene Chizik such nonsense. Remembering his days against the Trojans when he was at Auburn, Chizik says, "Well, just reflecting back on those years, you know, the thing that dawned on me when we got done playing those games was, first of all, how physical USC was, and as everybody knows, how athletic they are. There's a lot of carryover with what they're doing on offense now as to what they did then. I don't think that they try to reinvent the wheel at all. They do a great job of, like I said earlier, getting mismatches."

The Obvious – The Trojans' offensive foundation is an offensive line called by many the best in the country.

The Not So Obvious – Led by All-America left guard Taitusi Lutui and All-Pac-10 first-team selections Ryan Kalil and Sam Baker, they have their work cut out for them, thanks to a vaunted Texas defensive line. However, the performance of Pac-10 second-team selection Fred Matua and honorable mention Winston Justice will be key, especially Justice, who will have a second chance to redeem himself on the national stage after having been challenged by the Irish defensive line during the high exposure of the Notre Dame game.

The Obvious – The battle between the Trojans offensive line and the Longhorn's defensive line figures to be highly entertaining for the football purist.

The Not So Obvious – Sophomore Texas defensive tackle Frank Okam (6-5, 315) from Dallas sees a real challenge. Okam says, "I think they bring a different style of blocking that our offensive line represents. They're very athletic. It might be similar to Ohio State and Oklahoma. The center (Kalil) is very athletic, one of the quickest centers I'll probably face all year. And the two guards (Lutui and Matua) are very powerful, especially the combo blocks. They've got Reggie, LenDale, and when Reggie and LenDale go back and they're running and doing their thing, I think a lot of keys of the success for Bush and White is because of the offensive line when you have holes two miles wide, you get those mismatches."

The Obvious – This game, perhaps more than any in recent Trojan memory, will be a game of matchups, especially along the offensive and defensive lines.

The Not So Obvious – Perhaps the most important and symbolic matchup will be between fiery and outspoken Trojan offensive guard Fred Matua (6-2, 305) and Texas' equally fiery and outspoken All-America defensive tackle Rodrique Wright (6-5, 315), a finalist for the Lombardi Award, who figure to spend the evening in full combat and in full conversation.

The Obvious – It is common knowledge that Texas quarterback Vince Young and the Trojan quarterback Matt Leinart were in contact during the season and even hugged during their recent trip to Disneyland.

The Not So Obvious – In case you have forgotten, a number of Trojans and Longhorns participated in the 2005 Playboy All-America team outing, including Texans Rodrique Wright and Jonathan Scott and Trojans Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush, Tom Malone, and coach Pete Carroll.

The Obvious – The Texas offense is averaging 50.9 points per game.

The Not So Obvious – The Trojans defense is allowing 21.3 points per game.

The Obvious – Texas quarterback Vince Young (6-5, 233) has been the best pass-run signal-caller in the country, passing for 2,769 yards and 26 touchdowns and rushing for 850 yards and nine touchdowns.

The Not So Obvious – A perceived weakness in the Trojans defense has been the lack of an inside pass rush. In a strange, ironic twist, this could be a positive if tackles Sedrick Ellis and LaJuan Ramsey don't get blown off the line of scrimmage by the beefy Texas O-line. If Ellis and Ramsey can maintain order in the pit and ends Frostee Rucker and Lawrence Jackson can contain Young from improvising, it will force the junior from Houston to beat the Trojans with his arm in the pocket. The O/NSO believes Young can't beat the Trojans in the pocket and will probably take some serious "shots" from Rucker and Jackson. Key will not be grabbing Young but wrapping him up. For all you football coaches out there, expect to see some Pete Carroll "genius" in regards to some defensive execution. Our lips are sealed.

The Obvious – Though still a junior, Young passed Bobby Layne as the winningest quarterback in Texas history by improving to 29-2 as a starter with the romp over Colorado in the Big 12 championship game.

The Not So Obvious – A liberal arts major at Texas, Young says he likes to "relax" as a pregame ritual. Well, that will be tested on Wednesday, but the superstar Longhorn quarterback also relaxes by playing Madden Football. So, we guess you also knew that his favorite cartoon character is Bugs Bunny and that his favorite sports hero as a kid was quarterback Steve McNair.

The Obvious – The Trojans can expect to see a ton of shotgun formation from Texas, a tactic that they have used as a large part of their offense.

The Not So Obvious - Texas ran a no-huddle attack throughout most of the first half of the Big 12 championship against lowly Colorado, which coach Mack Brown said he installed to prevent the Longhorns from feeling any jitters playing for the conference title.

The Obvious – The Trojans offense is averaging 580.2 yards per game.

The Not So Obvious – The Texas defense is allowing 280.3 yards per game.

The Obvious – While the Trojans have put up numbers of near historic proportions, we have yet to see a complete game with all the weapons firing at the same time, with the exception perhaps of UCLA.

The Not So Obvious – This is what happened last year in the Orange Bowl when all the cylinders of Troy were functioning. The key is performance or use of tight ends Dominique Byrd and Fred Davis. It is no secret that they have not been a major cog in this year's offensive philosophy, either by design or execution. A good game by either tight end will contribute to a Trojan victory whose margin may be dictated by the efficiency and use of the tight end. The fact that Texas plays a majority of man coverage should give Byrd and Davis a number of deadly opportunities.

The Obvious – It is no secret that the Longhorns have not seen the type of attack the Trojans present.

The Not So Obvious – It's hard enough to prepare for the Trojans just in terms of talent. It becomes beyond difficult to simulate an offensive attack you don't see in the Big 12 or out of conference. The advantage in the Pac-10 is that teams over a period of years have an idea about the USC offense, but the Longhorns will certainly be tested early in trying to deal with the multifaceted USC pro-style attack.

The Obvious – The Texas offense is averaging 508.4 yards per game.

The Not So Obvious – The Trojan defense is allowing 344.7 yards per game.

The Obvious – The Trojans will try and make sure that Vince Young doesn't do a scenic tour of the Rose Bowl like he did against Michigan in last year's game.

The Not So Obvious – We see the Trojans has trying to keep Young in the pocket and force him to beat them with his arm. If the Trojans offense is determined by the performance of offensive guards Fred Matua and Deuce Lutui, then the same could be said of Trojan defensive tackles LaJuan Ramsey and Sedrick Ellis. If both can avoid being blown off the line of scrimmage and maintain their areas, then Young will need to make decisions and not just counterpunch the defense. This is big, big.

The Obvious – A major advantage for the Trojans is playing locally and judging by the overwhelming number of Rose Parade spectators on Monday wearing USC apparel, including two fans that got major TV exposure holding up a professional sign reading "No doubt – need one ticket"- it's not hard to get the attention of the visiting Longhorn players.

The Not So Obvious – Texas defensive end told Tim Crowder told CBS Sportsline's Dennis Dodd that he went out for a burger and found out just how much of a USC town, outside of Westwood of course, Los Angeles is. Crowder said, "This guy jumped out of the car and yelled, 'USC, USC,' gave the victory sign. I said, 'Man, this is crazy. It's like going to Ohio State for a whole week.'"

The Obvious – The Trojans rush offense is averaging 264.2 yards per game.

The Not So Obvious – The Texas rush defense is allowing 124.4 yards per game.

The Obvious – The nation may be seeing the final game for the Trojans' Lightening and Thunder, namely juniors Reggie Bush (8.9 ypc, 15 tds, 12.4 ypr, 2 tds) and LenDale White 6.7 ypc, 21 tds, 15.6 ypr, 2 tds).

The Not So Obvious – If the Longhorns can shut down these two all-time Trojan backs, frankly, they deserve the game. However, while all America and the Longhorns will be eyeing the great running ability of both stars, watch out for either Bush or White getting loose on the receiving end of Matt Leinart passes. While Bush's receiving achievements are well known, White is rapidly improving his receiving stock and just ask those Bruins.

The Obvious – Ever since Texas A&M exposed the Longhorns for 277 yards rushing and only lost by 11, there is the question of how the Texans will handle the Trojans' running attack.

The Not So Obvious –This game will be Marv Goux's favorite big man on big man mantra. Look for the Trojans to attack the defensive ends of the Longhorns, who had trouble with the A&M option. While UT won't have to worry about the option, they will have to deal with Trojan tackles Sam Baker and Winston Justice, who could see his stock rise. In fact, if Justice plays to his potential, not only will it increase the Trojans chances of success but also Winston's goal to enter this year's NFL draft.

The Obvious – Texas senior All-America defensive tackle Rodrique Wright (6-5, 315, 13 tac., 4.5 sacks) -- a finalist for the Lombardi Award, needs to be tough in the trenches if the Texas rush defense is to play solid and not revert into the unit that gave up far too many yards on Nov. 25 against Texas A&M.

The Not So Obvious – Wright, a Houston native whose nickname is "Chips" and who passed the "eyeball test" at Monday morning's media day at the Home Depot Center, says his favorite TV show is The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. His uncle, Elmo, played wide receiver at the University of Houston and was a first-round draft pick of the Kansas City Chiefs (#16 overall) in the 1971 draft. Rodrique is also a cousin of former Longhorn standout Cedric Woodard, a member of the Seattle Seahawks.

The Obvious – The Texas defensive front and the Trojan offensive line may be seeing their best opponents of the season.

The Not So Obvious – All-American Baker was asked by the O/NSO this week to compare the Longshorn's front four with some of the others this season. Sam said, "Texas looks really big and athletic. I don't think we have seen a group this big and athletic. Their two defensive ends did a great job on film. The best defensive lines we've seen up to this point were Washington State, they were really good, and Oregon had a good defensive front. You never really know how they will be until you actually play against them." Now that's a honest answer.

The Obvious –Texas senior middle linebacker Aaron Harris (6-0, 230) was the leading tackler among the Texas linebackers, which drew criticism after the Longhorns were gouged for 277 yards rushing by Texas A&M.

The Not So Obvious – In some ways, Wednesday will also be a battle of middle linebackers between the Trojans Oscar Lua and Harris. Harris, whose favorite car is a Mercedes Benz, admits to the fact he likes to write poetry. An interesting hobby considering his favorite movie is the Waterboy. It is assumed that Lua's favorite hobby will be trying to make sure that he doesn't lose sight of Vince Young, especially those menacing quarterback draws out of the shotgun option.

The Obvious – The Longhorn secondary has made it quite clear they are looking forward to the challenge of the Trojans' Bush and White.

The Not So Obvious – Texas junior safety Michael Griffin (6-0, 205, 116 tac., 4.5 sacks) is exceptional in run support, leading Texas with 92 stops. Of course when your safeties are making so many tackles, it doesn't bode well when facing a Reggie Bush or LenDale White. Perhaps Griffin's confidence in containing Bush and White comes from the admission that his favorite sports hero as a kid was Deion Sanders.

The Obvious – The Texas rush offense is averaging 273.8 yards per game.

The Not So Obvious – The Trojans rush defense is allowing 117.3 yards per game.

The Obvious - The return of Trojan sophomore linebacker Keith Rivers will be bring much needed speed against the bevy of Texas running backs.

The Not So Obvious – In a surprise move, Texas coach Mack Brown, who likes to rotate his backs, has selected Houston junior Selvin Young (6-0, 215, 4.7 ypc, 7 tds), Vince Young's roommate, as his starting tailback. Selvin, who has rushed for 416 yards rushing and ranks fifth on the Longhorns' stable of running backs, started only four games this season after missing last year's Rose Bowl due to a broken right ankle. While Young, who was once thought to be the replacement for the graduated Cedric Benson, gets the start, Trojan fans should be aware of Port Arthur freshman Jamaal Charles (6-1, 190, 7.4 ypc, 11.2 ypr, 13 tds) and Temple sophomore speedster Ramonce Taylor (5-11, 195, 7.0 ypc, 10.7 ypr, 14 tds),

The Obvious – The Texas offensive line is headed by all-star senior tackle Jonathan Scott (6-7, 315), junior Justin Blalock (6-4, 329.), and senior guard Will Allen (6-6, 315), all of whom figure to play in the NFL.

The Not So Obvious – Scott figures to be a central figure in protecting Vince Young from coach Jethro Franklin's Trojan front four. Scott has the athletic bloodlines as this father, Ray, played tight end for the New York Jets. Big Jonathan is also a six-time member of the LUT Athletics Director's Academic Honor Roll and loves to mix and create music from his computer.

The Obvious – Trojan senior fullback David Kirtman (11.6 ypr) seems to always be the ace in the hole for the Carroll when the chips are down, primarily as a receiver.

The Not So Obvious – The Longhornes present a sizeable challenge at fullback in true Grapevine freshman Henry Melton (6-3, 270, 5.0 ypc, 10 tds), who is the Texas answer to LenDale White near the goal line and in short yardage situations. If he reminds you of a future NFL performer, perhaps it's because his uncle is former 14-year NFL veteran Ray Crockett.

The Obvious – The USC pass offense is averaging 316.0 yards per game.

The Not So Obvious – The Texas pass defense is allowing 155.9 yards per game.

The Obvious – Trojan 3-time All-America quarterback Matt Leinart (65%, 27 TDs, and 7 int.) will be playing his last game in the cardinal and gold.

The Not So Obvious – Everything points to a shining moment for No. 11. His past bowl performances have been of All-America tapestry. However, let's keep our attention on how he reacts if he gets hit hard early and often. We aren't suggesting that Matt becomes gun shy, but we are suggesting that after being hit early and often he seems to need time to gather himself and get back into rhythm. Watching Leinart lay out his body on blocks for teammates shows you he is certainly not afraid to mix it up.

The Obvious – The Longhorns have a good one in senior safety Michael Huff (6-0, 198), the Thorpe Award Winner as the nation's best defensive back.

The Not So Obvious – Listing Huff in the The Sporting News' Draft Watch of Top 10 senior prospects, TSN wrote " corner/safety ‘tweener with the athleticism to play either position. Has decent size and plays the run adequately, is a fluid, fast runner. Is smart and can call the coverages." His smartness comes as no surprise as Huff was a member of the Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll in fall 2003, although he says his best Halloween costume is Michael Jackson. Go figure.

The Obvious – The Texas corner will attempt to physically manhandle the Trojan receivers, namely Dwayne Jarrett (14.2 ypc, 15 tds) and Steve Smith (16.3 ypc, 5 tds).

The Not So Obvious – The school of thought is that the Trojan receivers have not consistently done well when "pressed" by corners. However, it could also be true that the Texas secondary hasn't seen these types of receivers, with the possible exception of Ohio State, especially when supported by the likes of Leinart, Bush, and White.

The Obvious- Trojan fans have been quite impatient on the use of tight ends Dominique Byrd and Fred Davis.

The Not So Obvious – The sense here is that perceived tight end frustration could come to an end on Wednesday. The feeling here is that coaches Lane Kiffin and Steve Sarkisian will need to utilize these two talented tight ends and they will. We expect Matt Leinart will be given various opportunities to burn the Texans with both senior Byrd (11.0 ypc) and sophomore Davis (11.5 ypc). A big game by either talent could be the backbreaker the Trojans will be looking for. We look for Byrd to have a big game, especially with the nation watching.

The Obvious – The Texas pass offense is averaging 234.7 yards per game.

The Not So Obvious – The Trojan pass defense is allowing 227.3 yards per game.

The Obvious – The Trojans secondary did a remarkably good job of patching more injury holes than we have seen in quite a cardinal and gold time.

The Not So Obvious – As the case all year, the size of Texas receivers will be challenge, especially for Trojan senior corner Justin Wyatt (5-10, 180). The Longhornes will bring to Wednesday's Pasadena football rodeo the likes of talented sophomore Limas Sweed (6-5, 219) from Washington, Texas. If Sweed's name sounds familiar, Limas played in the 2003 U.S. Army All-American game. A big key will be how well Trojan sophomore Josh Pinkard handles Sweed through the course of the game. Make no mistake about, these Texas receivers, and let's not forget 6-0 soph Billy Pittman (23.2 ypr), are not only athletic, but, folks, they are very good at catching the ball.

The Obvious – The Longhorns have their own special brand of tight end in Wolfforth senior David Thomas (6-5, 245), who leads UT in receptions (40).

The Not So Obvious – A member of the National Honor Society at Frenship High, Thomas will be up against the Trojans All-American strong safety Darnell Bing, who has really come on his junior year. Bing's performance against Thomas will be critical considering Young and company have been converting 51% of their third-down opportunities. At Monday's media day, there were some scribes who detected they thought that Thomas felt he could do big damage against the Trojan secondary.

The Obvious – Sophomore Trojan field goal kicker Mario Danelo led the Pac-10 in field goal percentage, connecting on 10 of 11 attempts.

The Not So Obvious – Senior Texas kicker David Pino (5-8, 180), from Wichita Falls, Texas, who has hit on 12-of-15 field goals and 68-of-73 PATs.

The Obvious – The Trojans have one of the top punters in the country in senior Tom Malone (41.7), who has battled a hip injury all season.

The Not So Obvious – Malone, who average is down this year due to the Trojans touchdown scoring machine (he punted only 30 times this year) and injury, will have his hands full against a Texas team that has been very efficient in blocking punts. In Michael Griffin, the Longhorns have a "dude" that has a school-record six blocked punts in three seasons. Beware, beware, beware. It could be argued that Longhorn punter Richmond McGee, a 6-4 senior from Garland, Texas, is a weak link in the special teams having just averaged 38.1 yards per punt.

The Obvious – The Trojans are averaging 66.4 yards in penalties per game.

The Not So Obvious – Texas is averaging 68.2 yards in penalties per game.

The Obvious – So, as kickoff rapidly approaches, there is really not much more that any coach, player, or media outlet can say that hasn't already been said.

The Not So Obvious – The moment of truth is arriving for the No. 1 ranked Trojans of the University of Southern California and their date with college football destiny. Nothing much more to add here except make sure the car has a full tank of gas, notebook and pen are ready to roar, and trust Pete Carroll's Trojans are prepared to chant "Wartime," We Ready," and just plain "We Are The Champions" before, during, and after college football's biggest game of the year.


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