Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sunday (CFB Hangover) Quickie

Stanford beating USC is one of the reasons I love college football. (Frankly, now in its fourth year, it has become a perennial tradition with more relevance/resonance than any other "rivalry" game.)

This year's edition was not so different than the rest: USC waltzes in with something along the lines of an entitlement it should win. Stanford proceeds to hammer them and ruin USC's season.

In this case, there was nothing less than a presumption that this USC team was a lock to finish the season as a top contender to play for the national title; at the very least, they would have a shot right up until the Pac-12 title game to make their case to play Alabama (or, say, Alabama-LSU winner).

But then USC's fundamental sizzle met Stanford's steak. Lane Kiffin was exposed (yet again) as a coaching lightweight. Matt Barkley lost his shot at the Heisman, for which he was the presumptive favorite and for which there is now a widly wide-open competition.

More than anything, it is a reminder of the glory that is the college football regular-season battle of attrition. There are so many assumptions made, but in the best years, they are tested -- and regularly proven false.

"USC will run the table until Oregon."
"Matt Barkley will win the Heisman."
"This Saturday seems like a slate full of obvious results."

We've still got "It's Alabama and everyone else."

But Saturday night was a wonderful reality check that we shouldn't take anything for granted. And tune in, because you never know what you're going to see.

A few other notes:

*USC may have been overrated and exposed, but Stanford has earned a spot in this week's Top 5.

*Florida is not as good as their ranking will be, but better than I thought they'd be. So there's that!

*Alabama. I mean...I know Arkansas is a mess, but still. Yikes. Yeesh. Holy cow.

*Michigan State was overrated, but it's time to give Notre Dame some credit.

*I love watching Oregon play, but there is no evidence that even if they destroy everyone along the way to 12-0, they won't get snapped in half by the SEC champ.

*Western Kentucky is the new Louisiana-Monroe.

*Virginia Tech is the same old September-chokey Virginia Tech.

*If I had to pick a new Heisman front-runner, it's Ohio State QB Braxton Miller, with the Mariota-Thomas hybrid at Oregon tied for 2nd.

*This afternoon's games were snoozers. The Stanford-USC result more than made up for it.

-- D.S.

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