I’m sure you can come up with a million jokes that deal with “Beavers” and “Trojans”, but none of you could have predicted that Oregon would beat USC in Corvalis, Oregon. Yes, I said ‘beat the Trojans’. USC did not lose to Oregon State; that would give USC too much credit. Oregon State came in and smacked USC around, plain and simple. They didn’t run over USC, they seemingly ran under USC. Oregon State ran straight at the Trojans and succeeded, thanks to an offensive line that should give this Ohio State line lessons in the off-season and a miniature RB in Jacquizz Rodgers who gained 186 at a consistent 5 yards a carry. As soon as a big bad Trojan had him in their grasp, he’d spin away for another 4 yards. The ease at which Rodgers gained yards was comical, scoring the proved-to-be-game-winning TD by literally running under the extended arm a USC safety. While it looked like men against boys, Oregon State showed who the real men were.
What wasn’t comical was, and still is, the outcome of the Ohio State-USC game. It doesn’t make you think about what could have been, but how much Ohio State needs to change. Watching a game like Oregon State-USC, you realize how some teams like to play football and have fun doing it. Has Ohio State coached the football right out of some of these players? Somewhere I read a statement that said “the real OSU beat USC”, and I’m not so sure I would argue. Ohio State can’t generate the fire that Oregon State played with even if you had the whole team on IV’s of speed before the game. You may not know this, but Oregon State doesn’t have Alex Boone, Terrelle Pryor, Brian Robiskie, Malcolm Jenkins, Marcus Freeman, or JL. An inspired game plan on both offense and defense, coupled with execution, proved to be the difference between that OSU and this OSU. No matter how many times Oregon State tried to go back to their QB to lose the game, pass play after run play succeeded and then the clock ran out. This was the same USC defense that held Ohio State to 3 points. We’ll just assume that up to this point, Ohio State rolls over in the face of adversity. From here on out, they have the chance to change their reputation.
Now obviously, not every game is the same. I imagine Boom Herron was watching this game somewhere saying “I don’t remember it being that easy”. I’ve come to the conclusion that Ohio State and USC are as polar opposites as possible. The talk before the Ohio State-USC game was the difference in the head coaches and the cities, but really its about how they play the game. Ohio State can’t win a big game and USC can’t win a no-name game. Seriously, losses to Oregon State (x2), Stanford, and UCLA can’t be overlooked anymore. Like Ohio State’s big game record, I see a trend developing for Southern Cal. Blow out Ohio State, no problem. Beat a team that Penn State showed up to the game and won, big problem.
Some of the blame has to land directly on the shoulders of Pete Carroll and his staff. I’ve never heard the words “Pete Carroll was outcoached” like I hear “Jim Tressel was outcoached”, but that’s exactly what happened in Oregon. If fans and the media weren’t so busy declaring Pete Carroll as the best coach in America, they would see that maybe he’s no invincible. I wouldn’t go as far as worst ‘little-game coach’, but there’s not another big time college football team with worse losses on its record, except maybe Oklahoma. Every time USC scored, it showed signs of being the best team in college football, but unfortunately for them, those times were far and few between.
If Ohio State’s loss to USC was embarrassing, what does another conference game choke for USC mean?