Tuesday, October 23, 2007
USC prevailed in its Gut Check Saturday two weeks ago, bouncing back from that terrible loss to Stanford to defeat the Arizona Wildcats, 20-13. Last week's test was rivalry week against Notre Dame and the Trojans passed by shutting out the Irish 38-0, avoiding a let down against a dismal, 1-win Irish team.
This weekend is Separation Saturday for #9 USC as it travels to Eugene, OR to take on the #5 Oregon Ducks, but also for other teams. This week's slate of games has 4 of the top teams in Pac-10 dueling it out, as well as big games nationally involving top 10 teams. Thursday #2 BC travels to Blacksburg to take on a very good Virginia Tech Hokies team ranked #8. Saturday #1 Ohio State travels to an equally hostile environment in Happy Valley to take on #24 Penn State. Elsewhere in the Pac-10, #7 Arizona State will try to remain undefeated as they host #18 Cal.
Autzen Stadium is a very difficult place to play, probably the toughest venue west of SEC country. USC struggled early the last time it was there, needing another other-worldly performance for Matt, Reggie, LenDale, and Co. to secure a 45-13 win after getting behind 13-0. Last year, the Trojans coasted to an easier than expected 35-10 victory at the Coliseum. USC smothered Ducks QB Dennis Dixon, forced him out of the game, and then smothered his backup, Brady Leaf. There was that interesting exchange between Pete Carroll and Oregon Coach Mike Bellotti, during timeout for a replay challenge though. In case you forgot it went something like this...
Oregon is a fumble away from being undefeated and possibly being ranked #1 in the country. Ducks WR Cameron Colvin, who may be out for the season due to injury, fumbled into Cal's endzone just before he crossed the goaline late in the 4th Quarter. What would have been the game winning TD became a touchback for Cal, and sealed the game for the Bears. Besides that one play, Oregon has looked great all season and pose a big threat to the Trojans. The Trojans are underdogs for the first time in the regular season since its 2003 opener at Auburn (A 23-0 USC win). The loser will suffer its 2nd loss of the season, and will be all but eliminated from the BCS National Championship race and will likely end up playing in my hometown of El Paso for the Sun Bowl.
Check back for Oregon's offensive and defensive previews. I've been swamped by papers and midterms the last couple of weeks, but I'm back on track now. Sorry for the lack of updates during Notre Dame week.