"We DO have plenty of life insurance, but it has to look like an accident so that the kids and I can receive the double indemnity benefits."—Mrs. T8.
Ah...my wife and her infinite wisdom. I took a poll: Slitting my wrists wouldn't look like an accident. Nor would jumping off the balcony. (I'd probably just break my legs anyway.)
T8 has business out of state this week and so will write this stream-of-consciousness style. Here are my thoughts.
Just what IS USC's record when it rushes for 250 yards against an opponent? Before Saturday, I'd say it was something like 50-0. All good things must come to an end, I guess.
The frustrating thing is that USC was absolutely killing Washington early in this game. That was before we learned that Aaron Corp is not—and by the looks of things, never will be—ready for prime time.
I've been watching USC football for the better part of three decades now. Corp's performance was one of the worst I've ever seen. At least John David Booty could point to a broken finger. What's Corp's excuse?
His running backs were brutalizing the Washington front four, which forced the Huskies to bring up three or four more guys into the box. That left one on one coverage for the receivers. Should have been easy pickings.
Should have been.
Hey Pac-10—want to know the secret for beating USC? Play man up on its "can't get open to save their lives" receivers and load eight or nine in the box to stuff the run. It's that simple.
I won't offer any excuses. There are none. An "explanation" might be found, however. If you want to lose a game against a team you should beat easily, just follow the USC blueprint from this last weekend: Drive at will, get deep into your opponent's side of the field, and then fumble, repeatedly.
If you've got a stout defense, then you'll need to fumble two or three times—and make sure you don't recover the fumbles. Or you can have your QB throw into double, or triple, or (believe it or not) quadruple coverage. That'll do it—every time.
To all my "fans" from the SEC (of which I have many, it would appear): You were right. USC is not a national title contender.
At least not with Aaron Corp at the helm. He looked like the proverbial deer in the headlights.
I swear at one point he looked over at USC's Damian Williams, tapped his helmet to make sure the signal was clear to the entire defense, and then, just for good measure, shouted, "Hey, I'm going to throw it to you" so that the Husky linebacking corps would have no doubt.
He then snapped the ball, stared down Williams—or whichever receiver—and waited for the defense to shift over and into the passing lane. He then he threw a perfect strike—right between the defender's numbers.
Folks, Corp would have thrown four interceptions in this game if only the Huskies defenders could catch the ball.
Two words—Mitch Mustain. I don't care if he's a gunslinger. At least his interceptions will be 30 yards down the field. Who knows, one or two of them might even be caught by the USC receivers. USC only needs to score about 17 points to go undefeated. Is that asking too much?
Football 101: If there are four defenders covering the receiver you're staring down, then there must be, by definition, at least two receivers elsewhere on the field who are running wide open. You don't even have to look at them if you know what patterns they are supposed to be running.
Perhaps I'm giving too much credit to Corp. Perhaps I've given Pete Carroll the benefit of the doubt one too many times. Mark my words: USC will lose not one or two or three games this season, but fully six games IF: (1) Aaron Corp is starting at the QB position, and (2) USC's receivers continue to play defense against the defenders. I swear it sure looked that way. I saw no separation all day.
USC was killing Washington. It looked like it going to be a total blowout. 7.1 yards per rush. That's the formula for one of those 49-9 type of whuppings. Then again, it's also the kind of stats Navy has in its 16-13 losses.
0-10 on third downs. (It may have been worse—I quit counting at that point.)
I'm getting the impression that Carroll was putting us on when he was talking about how advanced Barkley was. I'm not so sure. Maybe it's just that Mustain gave up caring a long time ago and Barkley wasn't as bad as Corp. I don't know.
I do know that USC needs to regroup. The defense is pretty solid. I'm not concerned about giving up 13 or 16 points a game. The offense should be easily covering that and some.
The problem is on offense. Nine returning starters. A plethora of five-star running backs. The problem is at QB and with some receivers that can't seem to get open—and I have no answer for either.
It could be a long season. What is clear is that USC has a QB problem, and this season won't be salvaged unless it gets solved, and fast.
Could USC go 11-1? Sure. Barkley could get up to speed, or Mustain could be given his shot and prove to be a gamer. But I don't see that making much of a difference.
Perhaps it's a statement of where USC's program is at this point that simply making the Rose Bowl is an unsatisfactory consolation prize.
It's been said that 10 percent of life is what happens to you; 90 percent is how you react to what happens to you. It's time for the Trojan coaching staff to re-evaluate the situation. If the upperclassmen receivers can't get open in the game, then it's time to start the new kids. It's time for plan B.
In the meantime, I'll be staying away from ledges and razor blades.
All the best,