The field goal attempt missed the uprights and the final bell sounded: USC 38, Oregon 35. That game in November last year was one for the ages. USC snapped the nation's longest home-winning streak by being the first visiting team in 22 tries to leave Autzen Stadium with a victory. That game quashed any chance of a rematch with LSU in the national championship game that Oregon players had been chirping about following a victory over #4 Stanford a week earlier. That game single-handedly won USC the offseason national championship, who started this season with a #1 ranking and the Heisman trophy front-runner.
Fast forward a year and things are different. This is still the marquee matchup of the Pac-12 season but USC brings two losses to middling opposition into it. Oregon State and Stanford fans can crow about being ranked ahead of USC—the Cardinal beat USC 21-14 earlier this season—but they aren't fooling anyone. Oregon will dispatch those two silly teams later this month. Tonight's game is a matchup between the two most talented teams in the conference. The best receiving corps against the best secondary. The former power that the national sports press was ready to crown again in the offseason and the team that has the won the past three conference championships.
Did I make it sound like a tough matchup between two good teams that will be hard-fought to the final whistle? Good then that means I'm doing my job. I don't think it will be close.
Oregon is favored by 8.5 points (Vegas had USC favored by 6 to start the season). Oregon is statistically better than USC in scoring, total offense, total defense, and scoring defense. Even more tellingly, Oregon's defense ranks 9th in the country in 3rd down defense, allowing opponents to convert on only 28.35% of their 3rd down attempts. USC's offense ranks 110th in the country on 3rd down conversions. The Trojans also lead the country by a wide margin in penalty yardage, which USC coach Lane Kiffin [More like Lame Kitten, amirite? - Ed.] has attributed to his team's "pride."
And then there is the revenge factor. Oregon has won the past three conference titles—playing in only a handful of even somewhat close games along the way—and yet it was dethroned by the sports press after one fluke of game. Tonight will be the nail in the coffin to the adorable preseason storyline of USC's return to dominance.
USC QB Matt Barkley came back because he had "unfinished business." That will remain unfinished. Oregon coach Chip Kelly also cited "unfinished business" when he declined a purported $6 million-a-year offer to become the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the offseason. Tonight is just the another step in finishing that business. The Ducks' players are more than excited for tonight's game.
De'Anthony Thomas jogs out to loosen up. Can't stand still, bouncing around all over the place. Dude is amped up.â Rob Moseley (@DuckFootball) November 3, 2012
"I like Oregon big" - Joey Harrington, impartial college football observer.â John Locanthi (@HuekahJohn) November 3, 2012
A personal foul on Michael Clay?!?!? I just lost my faith in humanity.â Rob Moseley (@DuckFootball) November 4, 2012
I don't like accusing announcers of showing favoritism, but if Gus could fit more SC cock in his mouth I'd be astonished.â Christopher J (@TrailBlazinPDX) November 4, 2012
Send in the punters
Send in the soulful, doleful, SCHMOLTZ by the bowlful.... punters
Send in the punters
Wow. RT @insidetroy RT @yookc: Kenjon Barner has more rushing yards today than Washington St. has ALL SEASON.â Bryan Fischer (@BryanDFischer) November 4, 2012