Oregon Ducks Defeat Trojans
Portland, Oregon – Any chance that the Trojans had to vie for a berth in the Bowl Championship Series was put to rest Saturday afternoon on a bright sunny afternoon at Autzen Stadium. The Oregon Ducks defeated the Trojans in convincing fashion by a score of 24-17.
Pete Carroll and the Trojans' meteoric rise to the top of the NCAA football heap, fell with a nondescript thud. USC was outplayed and outcoached and return to the ranks of the average college football team. The question left to be answered is how far the team will fall and how long they will remain there.
No longer in the elite group, how will these Trojans respond for the remainder of the year? Starting the year as the consensus number one team in the nation, USC may very well fall out of the top 20 with its latest loss.
Just How Bad Are These Trojans?
This team is probably not that bad. Maybe at the bottom half of the top 20 when it's all said and done, if the team finds itself. There are still a few games before the season ends.
For certain, USC shouldn't have been ranked #1. But preseason and early season polls are so tricky – teams are ranked by reputation at that point. And for 6 seasons USC has been at the top of the heap. So, the Trojans had a good rap at that point. Now things change. By next season, USC will have to earn a reputation all over again. It's easier to climb up than it is to stay at the top. This may be a good thing.
A Team Who Beats Itself Can Not Stand
It's rather difficult to evaluate a loss. The Ducks were clearly the better team on this day. The coaching was also better.
But there is a disjoint here. Some have come to say that the "the Trojans beat themselves." And for the two losses and two near misses, one could certainly argue that point. At what time however, does it become the opposition is simply better?
Not to take anything away from the Ducks, they were the victors; they were the better team this day. It does come to mind, though, that these Trojans simply couldn't get out of their own way. The Ducks did not overwhelm the Trojans and statistically anyway, the Trojans had better numbers.
The flip side to this logic, of course, is that the other team made the Trojans looks bad. The statistical categories which the Trojans led in which is quite disturbing is penalties and turnovers.
Mistakes, Miscues and Misjudgments
Sitting in an armchair, it is so easy to coach and second-guess things. But here goes:
It seems the Trojans played too tentatively. This team needs to take some risks and come out firing or play smash-mouth and run over the opponent, run the ball at them until they beg for mercy. Up the middle.
Not capitalizing on the first special teams turnover was crucial to the loss.
Team Speed, Recruiting Wars, High School All-Americans
Arguably, the Trojans have one of the fastest teams in college football. In recent years they have also been at the top of the recruiting wars. The top of the order of the lineup is littered with High School All-Americans. Yet, the last two years, this team has not lived up to expectations.
The chemistry and fire of this team are prone to long bouts of disappearance. The whole team has not come together for an extended period of time. Everyone needs to get on the same page, or so they say.
Patrick Turner put on a fine exhibition at Autzen Stadium. He wanted the ball, he got the ball, and he needs to keep this attitude up. In other games, the offensive line has dominated. In others, the running backs or the defense.
The team needs to come together as a cohesive unit and dominate from start to finish. It's not that difficult, is it?