After Week One, USC Should Be Ranked No. 1

Gerald BallCorrespondent IAugust 31, 2008

I hate to admit it, but it is true. USC demolished a Virginia team that went 9-4 last season, 52-7.

Sanchez will never live up to his high school billing, but I still believe that A) he will be the Trojans' next No. 1 draft pick at QB and B) Pete Carroll cost himself a national title by choosing John David Booty, the latest in a long line of frauds from Louisiana's Evangel Prep, over him.

I honestly think USC will make the title game this year and win it.

As for the team that is ranked No. 1 ... their victory over I-AA Georgia Southern wasn't even as impressive as Georgia Tech's victory over I-AA Jacksonville State, not to mention South Carolina's victory over NC State and Alabama's victory over Clemson.

Seriously, UGA is going to have to start playing a lot better to finish higher than third in the SEC. Playing like this, I am not certain that UGA will beat Arizona State without the sort of dogfight that Oregon State and ASU subjected LSU to.

This is relevant because LSU's losing to Tennessee was a direct result of ASU's pushing them in the prior game.

Then there is Florida. Wow.

1. Tim Tebow is an upperclassman.

2. Urban Meyer may have a tailback for the first time in his tenure at Florida. (C. J. Spiller, who ditched UF to go to Clemson at the last minute ... hey, how's that decision looking right now?)

3. Florida may actually have a DEFENSE this year.

The SEC media picked UF to beat UGA this year for a reason. 56-10 over Hawai'i may have showed you why. However, that accomplishment still is nowhere near as impressive as USC's performance over a major college team with a longtime winning tradition.

Seriously, I have much more respect for what USC did to UVa than I do for anything that they ever accomplished against Arkansas, which is the toughest recruiting situation in the SEC (yes, even tougher than Vanderbilt and Mississippi State).


Utah over Michigan

This is the result of Rich Rod's foolish decision to put all his eggs in the Terrelle Pryor basket. Rich Rod will have his running QB in place next season, but he will still be a true freshman.

By the time Rich Rod has an experienced QB for his offense, Terrelle Pryor will be for Ohio State what Tim Tebow is for Florida right now. Great decision, Rich Rod.

Maybe now Rich Rod is going to learn that he isn't recruiting two- and three- star guys lucky for the opportunity to play major college football at outposts like Tulane, Clemson, and West Virginia anymore, and will quickly adapt to going after kids who can have their pick of schools.


Alabama over Clemson

Tommy Bowden comes up small again. Big surprise there. It really is time for this program to go in a new direction.

Clemson can accomplish more than merely being a winning program...based on their tradition and facilities they really ought to be competing for the ACC title year in and out, especially with programs like FSU, Miami, and Georgia Tech being not what they were in the 90s.

It is disgusting that the likes of Virginia Tech, Boston College, and West Virginia have surpassed Clemson in terms of programs on the east coast when Clemson once used to compete on an equal footing with the best of the SEC.

If it wasn't for Bowden's last name he would have been gone a long time ago, and Clemson needs to stop practicing legacy preferences.


Missouri over Illinois

This was the biggest game of the weekend, as both teams will be competing for an at-large BCS bid.

Now Illinois fans are seeing why Ron Zook was fired TWICE at Florida (first as defensive coordinator after the Nebraska national title game debacle, then as head coach): the guy is an AWFUL defensive coordinator. Simply AWFUL.

He has been able to put up good performances against Ohio State the past couple of seasons, thanks to understanding that speed and athleticism on the edges gives Ohio State fits—a fact which Ohio State has attempted to address incidentally by recruiting more athletic offensive tackles.

Zook will never win more than eight or nine games a year at Illinois until he sacrifices his pride and allows his defensive coordinator to do his job, which he refused to allow Charles Strong to do at Florida.

The SEC fan and PAC-10 basher did notice Cal's holding on for a hard-fought and important win against a Michigan State program that will do pretty well for itself until coach Mark Dantonio heads for greener pastures. Good for Cal and the PAC-10.

However, even in victory, Cal revealed the biggest problem for the Little Nine of the PAC-10: their inability or unwillingness to play defense.

So for right now, no matter what the polls say, USC is No. 1 and everyone else is chasing them. And since USC-Ohio State is by far the biggest matchup of the early season (and possibly the season itself), if USC beats OSU at home as expected, it will remain that way for quite awhile.

And yes, UGA fans, if USC beats OSU or even if OSU beats USC, they SHOULD leapfrog you.

By the way: Mitch Mustain, it looks like you DID go to USC to sit on the bench after all. Should have stayed the big fish in the small pond, kid! At Arkansas, you would have developed into an NFL draft pick.

At USC, meanwhile, the only way you will ever start a single game is if Sanchez gets hurt. Now Damian Williams, on the other hand, seems to have actually made the right decision ...