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Posted on Wed, Jan. 05, 2005


Trojans dash and dance past team that didn't belong



The alleged championship of college football was such frolicking fun for the USC Trojans on Tuesday night that they did not even wait until the third quarter to turn this football field into a nightclub. On their way to the locker room at halftime, up by 784 points, all of USC's bobbing players gathered in a jubilant circle near the end zone and actually began dancing right there on the field.

The music?




This was like watching a buzz saw against a stick of butter. USC's Heisman Trophy winner, Matt Leinart, was very good during this 55-19 strangling, but his receivers were far, far better. So the argument today isn't whether USC is better than Oklahoma -- that debate ended before even Tuesday's first quarter did -- but rather which of USC's four touchdown catches in the first half (yes, four, in just the first half) was the most breathtaking.

The one-handed one by the twisting tight end blessed with two famous basketball names -- Dominique Byrd? The perfect bomb from Leinart to Dwayne Jarrett that was prettier than any single play the Dolphins produced in this stadium all season? Or either of the two by Steve Smith, who scraped one pass impossibly off the ground while falling and somehow caught the other even while a cheating, interfering Oklahoma defender spent most of the possession trying to set fire to him.

And, keep in mind, USC's best receiver, Mike Williams, who only caught 30 touchdown passes the past two seasons, wasn't even allowed to play this season. If he had, Oklahoma would have simply forfeited in Tuesday's second quarter, some of the players evacuating the field while screaming, the others softly weeping. Later, Sooners.


It helped USC that the only thing more flawed and more fraud than the system that produced this championship game was the Oklahoma team stampeded at the center of it. Oklahoma would have been the most counterfeit thing in the entire stadium if not for a halftime performance that included Ashlee Simpson. USC, meanwhile, would have been the most dangerous thing in the place if not for the surprise appearance by alum O.J. Simpson.

You can make the argument today that Auburn, Utah, Louisville and maybe even Boise State could have beaten Oklahoma, bogus champion of a bogus conference (Texas A&M and Oklahoma State scored 35 points each on Oklahoma and both were crushed in bowl games). Oklahoma fans will vehemently dispute this, but shhhhhhhh, Sooner-breath. You have no right to anything today but silence and perhaps sobbing. You can't get undressed this thoroughly and whimper about anything, not after beating only three ranked teams.

USC played 12 other games this season and didn't score this many points in any of them. Among the teams that gave USC a more competitive game than Okla-coma were 4-7 Stanford, 3-8 Arizona and 1-10 Washington.


USC and Oklahoma combined to score more points in a first half than any two Orange Bowl teams ever, but that's like saying no two brothers have hit more homers than Hank and Tommie Aaron. Only one of the sides was doing all the producing.

You could make the argument, as many did, that there had never been a collection of talent like this on one college field. But you'd have to take up that argument with the Miami-Ohio State game of a few years ago. That Ohio State team had 14 players who were drafted by the NFL that year. And that Miami team had an unprecedented 11 players who would be drafted in the first round in that year and the next. Oklahoma might be very talented, but there wasn't much in the way of proof Tuesday.

Impressive as USC was, Auburn deserves to share the national title. You can't go 13-0, as the Tigers did, and beat four Top 10 teams, as the Tigers did, without having anything to show for it. In the history of college football, no team has been quite as robbed as the Tigers if the voters don't rectify this today. You will find no precedent for a team as overwhelming as Auburn not getting at least part of the trophy.

Yes, Auburn would have given USC more of a game, but that's not saying much, obviously.

Because it would have been just about mathematically and physically impossible for Oklahoma to give USC less of one.

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Nice. My favorite line:

... Oklahoma would have been the most counterfeit thing in the entire stadium if not for a halftime performance that included Ashlee Simpson.  ...


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Nice.  My favorite line: 
... Oklahoma would have been the most counterfeit thing in the entire stadium if not for a halftime performance that included Ashlee Simpson.  ...



That was my favorite line, too. The chorus of boos she got during and after her "performance" at halftime combined with the bad press she's received since the SNL debacle lead me to believe that it's just a matter of time before she stars in her first porn movie.

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