BCS expert Jerry Palm said Cal and Notre Dame were hurt by USC’s loss almost as much as the Trojans.
“They’re national championship hopes rested on playing an undefeated USC, beating them and making a big jump in the polls,” Palm said. “It hurt both of them.”
Is USC out of the national title picture? Probably not.
In the Trojans’ favor, there were still five head-to-head matchups this season involving teams ranked in the top 10 this weekend (Ohio State-Michigan is an example). So there is a chance for fluidity in the rankings and USC’s schedule will impress the computers.
Before worrying too much about that, however, more pressing matters are the fumbles, tipped passes, soft pass coverages and lack of playmakers that plague USC as it moves toward what was considered the tough part of its schedule.
Of all the stats thrown about regarding the Pete Carroll era, I consider this the most impressive: Carroll’s lost just one game by more than 10 points (26-15 to Notre Dame in 2001) in six years.
Even down 33-10 to Oregon State, Carroll somehow avoided getting blown out for the first time in his career. Compare that to the legendary Joe Paterno, who already this season lost by 24 points (Notre Dame) and 22 points (Ohio State).
Or self-proclaimed legend Charlie Weis, who was beaten by 26 points by Michigan last month.
Oregon State’s 33 points is the most the Beavers scored against USC since 1914 in the teams’ first meeting.
John David Booty’s 406 yards passing was the fifth-best performance in school history, just ahead of Matt Leinarts 400 yards last year against Notre Dame. USC is 3-3 in games where the quarterbacks throw for more than 400 yards.
Steve Smith finished with 258 yards receiving, just two yards shy of the USC record of 260 set by R. Jay Soward against UCLA in 1996. Sowards mark came in a double-overtime game.
It’s a bit of an esoteric point, but after the game, USC coach Pete Carroll regretted going for a touchdown on fourth-and-goal from the 10-yard line trailing 33-10.
“If I kick a field goal, its a different game. I screwed that up, Carroll said. “Thats something Ive got to correct. As I look back, I was impatient. But it was 33-10 at the time.
USC failed to score but it didn’t really matter because Oregon State botched the punt and allowed the Trojans to score a touchdown a few minutes later.
Everyone who favored the Pac-10 playing a full conference schedule without skipping opponents might regret it today. When the conference changed the schedules for this year, USC added its trip to Oregon State.
Linebacker Rey Maualuga did not play in the first half because he overslept and was late for a team meeting Friday morning.
UPDATED: “He was late, I probably would do that with anybody,” USC coach Pete Carroll said.
“We will always have a target on our back. It’s very difficult and every week you have to go out and play beautiful football. If you don’t, than you are giving the football away and that makes it very difficult. I am disapointed in the uncharacteristic play where we are not taking the ball off our opponents.”