Saturday, November 3, 2007

The mighty Trojan Nation

As I sit here watching USC play OSU, I feel sort of like an old biddy in a rocking hair, reminiscing about the glory of days gone by. Yeah yeah, I'm a spoiled little football bitch (and a smug one at that). No one needs to tell me this; I am fully aware. Two National Championships (and very nearly a third...but I can't talk about that), three Heisman Trophy winners in four years and a record of 48-4.

I come from the era of thunder and lightning, Pete Carroll, "the push," repeated stomping of rivals UCLA and Notre Dame and more oranges and roses than we knew what to do with. My classmates and I don't really understand the meaning of that big, ugly "L" (though I WAS at that fateful 2006 Rose Bowl and I'm still not going to talk about it...) Sports columnists touted us as one of the greatest college football teams EVER. We took over as THE Los Angeles team (because the Dodgers, Kings, Clippers and Lakers sure weren't doing much in that stretch). Even our harshest critics' hurled insults were so feeble, they were laughable.

Then came Oregon State. And the baffling 13-9 UCLA loss. Everyone was just a bit too eager to turn on the top dog. So we went to the Rose Bowl and thoroughly dominated Michigan (again) and everyone breathed a sigh of relief. A funny thing happened during the 2007 off season, though. The Pac-10 (which previously consisted of USC'm out) started stepping up their game.

The 2007 season features a fantastic Oregon team, a bafflingly good Arizona State team, and solid Cal and UCLA teams. That's not even getting into one of the craziest, David-beats-Goliath seasons college football has seen in years (kicked off by *hee-hee* Michigan and Appalachian State). We inexcusably lost to Stanford at home, breaking a 35-game home winning streak. We understandably lost to Oregon.

With a month left in the season, we sit at unimaginable number. I can make arguments about Booty's middle finger and an offensive line decimated by injuries. But I won't. Many in the Trojan Nation are full of sputtering excuses and a lot of sports columnists are smugly touting that they "knew it was coming."

Don't fool yourselves. The Trojan dynasty has not died. Our defense still puts most others in the nation to shame. Our offense is still play making just fine, thanks. Being a two-loss team shouldn't inspire "end of the world" hand-wringing. Sure, it takes us down a peg or two, but everyone needs to be force-fed a healthy dose of reality every once in a while. We're not invincible. But we're also not to be dismissed or counted out...ever.

Besides, it's a great ploy for the mightiest to lull everyone else into a false sense of security for a while before turning around and leveling everyone in their path (Hey, I may have been taken down a peg or two, but my football ego remains firmly intact).

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