Its safe to say nobody saw last night's upset coming. Oregon State, despite being a program that gets much better as the year progresses, had not shown much this year. Not only were they blown out by Penn State, but they let Stanford march up and down the field on them en route to losing the season opener. I know I did not expect it. OSU has been a solid bowl team under Mike Riley, but I felt they were rebuilding and a good bet to finish well in the bottom half of the league standings. Still, I DVRed the game to watch the Trojans. I was unable to start watching until past 11 o'clock because of prior commitments, but I still figured I'd get to bed early with the Trojans tucking it away by half or something. It turned out to be an amazing game, proving once again just how great and unique college football is compared to the other sports we follow. Last night was a seismic event in the CFB world, and you just dont get those at random in the other sports. So, I am a little bleary-eyed at work this morning, but still pretty ramped up about the game to offer a few thoughts on the outcome.
- The loss for USC is too early in the season to totally eliminate the Trojans from BCS Title game contenion. However, make no mistake, this is a major blow and the human voters will make them pay for this one throughout the season. Conventional wisdom says the Big 12 and SEC are far and away the best leagues right now. I can't see USC (or the Bucks, for that matter) ever being ranked ahead of legit 1-loss teams from those leagues. However, when the Trojans were undefeated, they looked to have a hammer lock on one of the title game invites. We had a race for one spot, opposite USC. Thats no longer the case as we have a whole new ball game in the BCS chase. On the broadcast last night, Chris Fowler said the chase is "energized" in the wake of USC's loss. Thats a perfect word. Logically, we're headed for a Big 12 vs SEC game for all the marbles with each league strong enough to allow for a 1-loss team into the title game. USC (and Ohios State) really need teams from at least one of those leagues to all have 2 losses in order to get back into the mix. And, that's if the Trojans and Bucks win the rest of their games. Thats a big If.
- Next week's poll ought to be interesting. Who in the world will be #1? The Trojans were the near unanimous #1 this week. But, with no obvious next choice, expect those votes to be tallied all over the place. We might see every team in the top-10 get at least one first place vote. Alabama, unranked at the start of the year, could very well be #1 this week if they can go into Athens and beat the Bulldogs. Meanwhile, even a team ranked in the second 10, like Penn State, might find themselves hauling in a series of first place votes. This will be one of the crazier votes of the regular season in recent memory, and you know we're destimed for another bizarre outcome over the weekend to further muddy the waters. As far as USC, I expect them to fall hard and out of the top 10. How can any pollster, with a straight face, put USC ahead of any of the other teams currently in the top-10?
- Since the start of last season, this makes nine times an unranked team has beaten either the #1 or # 2 ranked in the country. The Beavers are the first team with a losing record to beat a top ranked since Michigan State pulled the trick against Michigan in 1990. That was the famous Desmond Howard Interference No Call game. Brutal. Now I need a drink.
- Already this season, we've seen four legit BCS Title Game contenders go down in flames: Clemson, West Virginia, Ohio State and USC. You could even throw in trendy darkhorse ECU after the Pirates were upset last week as another fallen contender. Thats a lot of heady carnage. And, we're not even in October yet.
- The early meme in the wake of this game has been 'oh my, just how good is Penn State?' Thats a viable thought considering how the Nittany Lions thouroughly dismantled the Beavers a couple of weeks ago. But, I want to play this forward and look at it the from a different angle. Consider that in six days these same Beavers travel to Salt Lake City to take on the Utah Utes. I had discared the Beavers chances in that game, but its obviously time to reconsider. OSU getting off the mat and becoming everyone's darling can only benefit Utah. Originally, who thought the Utes would get any points from the voters based on a possible win there? Now, it could end up being a bigger feather in their cap than winning at the Big House. I think there's a more than decent chance that if Utah and BYU run their repsective tables, that a spot in the BCS Title Game will be on the line when those rivals square off in late November. Suddenly, OSU gets a tangible SOS boost in the eyes of the voters because of next week's game. Its another Thursday Night ESPN special, but for the Utes to take advantage of it, they must take care of business. Suddenly, that business looks a whole heckuva lot tougher.
- How about the game for Jacqueez Rogers. Its not as much the 187 yards rushing or over 200 total yards, but he carried the rock 37 times! Who knew this little dude could be a workhorse like that. When the Beavers lost to Stanford in the opener, this kid was the only thing that impressed me about OSU. He does remind me of Mike Hart in the fact that he is always getting positive yards, although he seems faster and more of a threat in the passing game than Hart. Whats really worth mentioning is that this kid, from SW Texas, was "just" a 3-star recruit (per rivals) and ranked as the #26 all purpose back in the country--16 spots behind our own Texas freshman Sam McGuffie. Yes, thats right, an electron sized, three-star recruit dominated the top ranked team in the country. Perhaps we can stop hand wringing over the "stars" assigned to our recruits and stop going all Chicken Little everytime Michigan signs a 3-star. I'll take a roster chalk full of Jacqueez Rogers, thank you very much. Of course, he limped off the field last night. Hopefully, it isn't serious because the dude is going to be a very big weapon for the Beavers.
- Interesting note on the Vegas Line from last night's game. Obviously, USC did not cover the -23. However, the second half line was -14.5 for the Trojans. USC covered that, thanks to that shank extra point by the Beavers in the closing minutes of the game. Crazy stuff and I am sure there was a lot of hotting and hollering going on in sports books up and down the strip as that was unfolding.