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03/22/2018 - 7:23pm 33929

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05/16/2009 - 8:19am USC

I think Don is right regarding the Trojans. People seem to have conflated the Stanford loss -- one of the most inexplicable events of our time -- with a few perfectly reasonable defeats in search of a pattern.

USC has lost five games the past three years. Sagarin ratings in parentheses:

--08: at Oregon St. (13)
--07: Stanford (70), at Oregon (8)
--06: at Oregon St. (20), at UCLA (34)

Of course, all of those ratings are boosted by the fact that those teams beat SC. That said, the ratings of the Oregon schools is pretty similar to those of the teams that beat Florida and LSU the past three years.

That leaves Stanford and UCLA. The UCLA game was actually an awful matchup for USC: UCLA had a killer pair of DE's, and USC had an immobile QB. If you recall how that game went, it wouldn't have mattered how many plays the Trojans ran. USC couldn't block those ends, and Booty was helpless.

Which leaves Stanford. An absurd loss, to be sure, but not evidence that SC's tactical approach isn't sound.