Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

Rose Bowl Discussion Thread

This thread is for discussion of this year's Rose Bowl college football national championship between USC and Texas.


by Teximu (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 1:00pm

First post(?)! Hook 'em!

(As an aside, and to inject some substance into an otherwise vapid post, I'll note that contrary to appearances, my nickname actually has nothing to do with my alma mater. It's how I have to write my name on these confounded Japanese computers, and the lucky side-effect is that it gives a pretty unique identifier in English, too.)

Okay, okay, some actual football-related content too. Anyone have any predictions? I have no clue which way the game will go; I can see any number of outcomes:

1) A repeat of last year's USC/Oklahoma game. USC gets up big and Texas is rendered one-dimensional.

2) A basketball-style game where both teams are going up and down the field at will and it pretty much comes down to the last possession.

3) Texas runs the ball all over USC for the first half to build up a big lead, then USC's offense makes a game of it in the second.

For some reason, I can't see Texas blowing out USC. Where's my faith?


by socaljoe (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 2:41pm

I think it may actually turn out that 'SC tries to reverse its tendencies. For arguments sake, say they pound the ball at UT using Lendale White for the first half. This would open up the passing game and wear out the defense a bit. Also, it keeps the UT offense on the bench. Then second half rolls around and it's the Reggie Bush show. Imagine having to hit hard up the middle the whole first half just to have to spend the entire second half chasing that guy around.

by Vinny (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 2:46pm

I don't have a great feel for this game (not that I have a good feel for any games -- again look at my sorry picks), but I just don't think this USC team is as good as the previous editions. Reggie Bush's highlight reels every week have covered that up a bit. Texas has Vince Young, some very good skill players, solid O-line, and a very good defense (now that Gene Chizik has replaced Steve Robinson).

Still, you give Pete Carroll this much time to prepare his defense, no matter how young they are, and it's hard to go against USC to win somehow. I just hope it's a game and not a rout like last year.

by Devin McCullen (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 3:51pm

If anyone's in the mood for steaming idiocy, click the link for Skip Bayless' take. It's not the USC pick that's stupid, it's the accusation that there's been way too much media hyping....of Texas.

Personally, I'm rooting for Texas because I like Vince Young. I don't really have any arguments for why they should win, though.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 4:31pm

I tell ya', if I were wagering on this contest, that 71 for the over/under would have me so conflicted that I'd have been tossing and turning the last few nights. I think I'd rather take Texas and the points, or Texas on the moneyline.

I certainly wouldn't be shocked to see Texas win, and if they do, it likely will be because the game is lower-scoring than expected. On the other hand, a 45-35 USC victory wouldn't surprise me either. On the third hand, I think I would be surprised to see Texas give up 45 points.

I think I'll sit this one out....

by GatorGriff (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 5:36pm

As a season-long contributor on these posts, I'll throw my hat in the ring. Let me first state that I am completely neutral here. I am a Florida Gator and an SEC fan. I could honestly careless who wins, I just want to see a close game. With that said, I think USC wins and covers, something like 38-27.

The main reason for my pick: I'm not sold on the Texas D. Maybe they are that good and maybe I'm wrong and I'll be the first to admit it on this thread if that's the case. But I just don't think they've played anyone all season outside of an Ohio State team that was simply not ready for that game and settled for field goals when they were controlling the game. I think the Texas D is going to be shocked at how fast USC is on offense, not only Bush, but Jarret, White and Leinhart's release.

It seems to be en vogue to trash the USC defense, but they've made the plays when they needed to (see the 2nd half of Oregon, the 4th quarter of Fresno St). I don't think USC's D is great, but I think they are better than they are given credit for. And count me amoung the population who does not believe Vince Young can pass the ball effectively enough to beat USC.

Further, Lienhart hasn't had a great season (at least not as great as 2004) but he is a big game player and I expect Texas to stack the line and do everything possible to stop Bush and White, and force Leinhart to beat them, and I think he will do exactly that.

by Ryguy (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 6:18pm

Texas' defense is for real. BUT everyone hasn't noticed yet that USC's defense is about the healthiest it's been coming up tonight.

If USC comes out like v. Fresno ST where they passed 90% of the time, they will be in trouble..

But I hope for LenDale White to have a breakout game since everyone is just talking about Bush, Bush Bush. USC probably wins, I don't think they'll cover 7.

by David (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 6:51pm

Who agrees with me that the greatest possible story that could come out of this game would be if, in the postgame interview, Reggie Bush made some offhand comment about how much he's looking forward to his senior season?

Actually, it would probably be better if he declared that he's really loved playing for USC, and that he'll look back on it fondly during his long, prosperous career in accounting.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 6:59pm

Honestly, I don't care who wins. I just hope the game is even half as entertaining as the last time an invincible, defending champion (with controversy two years previous) riding a 34-game win streak, with an incredible array of offensive talent, that ESPN spent a solid month comparing to the greatest teams of all time and debating their place in history, played against some other unbeaten team from a revived, tradition-rich school that no 'experts' gave any chance to and the pregame hype almost completely ignored. Will another win streak be stopped just short of that Toledo barrier? We'll see.

by socaljoe (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 7:19pm

Re 6: "Further, Lienhart hasn’t had a great season (at least not as great as 2004) but he is a big game player and I expect Texas to stack the line and do everything possible to stop Bush and White, and force Leinhart to beat them, and I think he will do exactly that."

Statistically though, this season was better or at least nearly identical. 21 fewer attempts, 128 more yards, a rating of 156.5 last year versus 158.3 this year. Almost identical completion percentage (65.3 v 65) and one more interception. He did have six fewer TD's this year but hey he ran for a few too, right?

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 7:49pm

Trogdor, that last game I had a better feel for, because Miami wasn't getting the QB performance that USC benefits from, and because Ohio State had such obvious NFL-quality talent on the defensive side of the ball. Texas may have similar dfensive talent, but USC's offensive skill position talent is obviously superior to that of Miami's. It just is a tougher game to handicap, whereas the other game was a no-brainer, in terms of evaluating the accuracy of the strength of public sentiment.

by gilles (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 7:55pm

Re 8: that would definitely be one of the highlights of this year's Bowl season.

Speaking of the Rose Bowl and the NFL draft, it's being reported that Vince Young will likely stay in school for his senior year:


A commitment to education, or fear of playing for the Saints? Who knows.

by Ryguy (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 8:14pm

re12.. Young has to improve his throwing and I'm guessing Texas will probably have less of the Option next year too.

by Jon (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 10:13pm

Because I've seen the commercials too many times during bowl season:

Who are those Nakia ads supposed to appeal to? You know, the ones with the 20-ish woman talking about her dog? The only demographic I can think of is spoiled teenage girls, the LEAST likely group of people to watch college football.

by Todd S. (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 10:28pm

3 and out. Nice start for the Texas D.

by Sid (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 10:38pm

I like USC 30-24.

Will Keith Jackson stop calling the Longhorns the "Texans"?

by Todd S. (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 10:41pm

I like the call to go for it there. Nice play by USC's D, though.

by Rocco (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 10:44pm

I thought it was a bad call- I don't want to help USC out with field position. If I did go for it, I would have kept the ball in Vince's hands- really two mistakes by UT.

by Ryguy (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 10:47pm

Texas should have went for it, that was a good call. But I think they need to use Young EXCLUSIVELY in the Shotgun, that snap and handoff on the Isolation play gave USC enough time to penetrate the Texas line and overwhelm the lead blocker.

by Todd S. (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 11:00pm

Grrr...Can Red River teams not hold onto the ball against USC?

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 11:03pm

Wow, Texas must have some great intangibles to have recovered all of them fumbles. Only losing 9 of 33? What incredible.... um... poise? Speed? Swagger?

You know, Texas really needs to settle down and stop making these mistakes. Two fumbles, that facemask after stopping SC on 3rd on the last series, going to one knee to catch a screen pass for a loss of seven. They can win this thing, but they're not good enough if they keep helping the Trojans out like that.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 11:11pm

There is no such thing as offensive pass interference, apparently.

by Todd S. (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 11:11pm

Mr. Bush emulates ARE!

by Adam (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 11:12pm


by Trogdor (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 11:12pm

Bush is taking lessons from Randle El, apparently.

by Rocco (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 11:13pm

Damn, I came here all set to make the Randle El joke... and 3 people beat me to it.

Seriously, what the hell was he thinking?

by DavidH (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 11:14pm

It went forward, too.

by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 11:14pm

The key to comedy is timing.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 11:14pm

It is nearly always a mistake to forgo an easy field goal early in the game against a quality opponent. Then again, if one thinks that one's kicker might be similar to what was seen last night, then going for it must be strongly considered. Carroll might get away with it, though.

....that lateral by Bush might be the single dumbest play I've seen all year.

by Adam (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 11:14pm


And swagger.

by PatsFan (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 11:16pm

Was Reggie Bush watching Randle-El films or something?

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 11:17pm

Do ya' get the sense that the fellas may have had just a weeeeeee too much espresso this afternoon?

by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 11:18pm

I'm just a loser who is able to watch the game via GameCast, but it looks like Vince Young is on fire... is this true?

by Adam (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 11:18pm

I saw a guy in the NFL make a player similar to the one Reggie Bush just made a little while ago......anyone know who it was?

by Digit (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 11:18pm

"They're so good at recognizing fumbles that they recover a lot of them"?


by Antwan Randle-EL (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 11:20pm

I should have won the Heisman Trophy.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 11:21pm

Do ya' think the Texas kicker might be enticed to transfer to Talahassee or Happy Valley?

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 11:27pm

Ron Dayne is one of em, I think.

by Adam (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 11:28pm

Am I the only one that can't stand Keith Jackson and Dan Fouts?

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 11:29pm

This just in: the USC offensive line is pretty good.

by DavidH (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 11:31pm

I'm with you Adam.

by Adam (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 11:31pm

That just might be a pick......

by princeton73 (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 11:31pm

Jim Plunkett is one

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 11:33pm

They need to review this. The official was too busy getting out of the way and bracing for impact, and somehow didn't see him stepping down about five feet in bounds.

And a proper overturn.

by PatsFan (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 11:34pm

How does the NCAA replay system work? Is it all "booth review" (to use an NFL term)? And what's the criteria that triggers a review?

by Adam (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 11:36pm

It's all booth review. Any play that the booth feels is worth another look.

Also, I really wish Dan Fouts would tell us how many points each of these teams average per game. This is information that I not only need, but information that I absolutely CRAVE!!!!!!!!!

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 11:37pm

It's about 50 points per game each. Also, Joe Paterno and Bobby Bowden are old, and AJ Hawk is dating Brady Quinn's sister.

by princeton73 (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 11:38pm

how could anyone forget the immortal Bob Schloredt

by Digit (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 11:38pm

I'm kinda surprised Pete Carroll hasn't adopted the 'Pound the hell out of the quarterback during the option play no matter what' philosophy in this case.

by Adam (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 11:39pm


Since that play worked for Vince Young he's a freaking Genius.

by Adam (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 11:40pm

Now this game is just silly.

by Rocco (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 11:40pm

Once again, instant replay fails. Way to stay awake there in the booth.

by princeton73 (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 11:40pm

the extra point fairy came along to atone for the replay that wasn't

by Todd S. (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 11:41pm

Botched replay...botched extra point. Wow.

And, yes, when a QB pitches a ball on the option, generally the RB is expecting it, so it results in a fumble less often.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 11:41pm

He was down, and the pitch might've been forward anyway. I can't believe they didn't get the review in on time!

And a missed extra point. Ah, shaky kickers.

by Becephalus (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 11:42pm

Wow, and I thought NFL announcers were bad. These guys are horrible. Several times mixing up the teams, basically confused and worthless commentary and great bits of wisdom like USC is going to focus on getting first downs on offense. Thanks guys I thought they wanted to play for 3rd or 4th down each series.

Doesn't ABC have any real announcers, I would almost prefer the three stooges to this (at least they are funny in a car accident kind of way).

by Stevis (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 11:42pm

Hey, who let the Sun Belt refs in?

by princeton73 (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 11:43pm

well, USC has their excuse (if they turn out to need one)

don't ever underestimate the importance of a good excuse

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 11:43pm

Even though the RB was expecting it, it's really dangerous to pitch it that late. See Troy Smith pitching to the ground 4 feet in front of Ted Ginn. But at least on the option, if it's a bad pitch there's a good chance it goes out of bounds.

by Becephalus (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 11:45pm

Regarding the Young pitch, it looked to me from one of the angles like the ball had already left his hands (it was still very close to them) when his knee hit (no idea about whether or not the pitch was forward or backward though).

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 11:45pm

Excuses are a great thing. I always just blame it on the guy at work who doesn't speak English. Ah, Zutroy, how many times have you saved my butt?

by Adam (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 11:46pm

You'll have to gimmy it with a credit card, that idiot zutroy lost the key.

by Teximu (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 11:47pm

Interestingly enough (or not), Texas has had a problem with missed extra points all year. This is at least the third or fourth one.

by Rocco (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 11:47pm

Wow does USC look out of it. They've blown a lot of chances, and now Texas could start to bury them if they don't shape up soon.

by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 11:47pm

Does anyone else think it is stupid that you can only replay the last play? How about opening up the last 2 plays to replay?

The fact that Team A benefitted from a slow replay buzz, by snapping the ball quickly shouldn't make the reviewable play go away.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 11:48pm

They did not just tell Booty to get ready, Keith Jackson. They are not pulling Leinart. Even if he was really sucking and totally to blame, pulling him would cost him millions, and Carroll wouldn't do that.

by princeton73 (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 11:51pm

Excuses are a great thing. I always just blame it on the guy at work who doesn’t speak English.


by Trogdor (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 11:51pm

Yeah, the slow replay buzz thing is why the challenge system is better, IMO. But it's not like Texas really rushed it, the booth just totally blew it.

That SBC commercial with the sun/shadow effects is ridiculous. I hate that commercial. Are they somehow giving the earth a second sun? I don't want that. It would make the earth like Tattooine, and I don't want to be a moisture farmer. It might increase the odds of being a Jedi though, and I'm all for that.

by Rocco (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 11:51pm

I think Leinart's left arm would have to fall off before Carroll pulled him.

Maybe he's telling Booty to go play DB- they aren't covering anyone down the field. They aren't tackling either.

by princeton73 (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 11:51pm

Vince Young is the nonfat version of Daunte Culpepper

by Adam (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 11:56pm

Heres my first half so far comments:

1. I don't think Vince Young is going to make it in the NFL and his throwing motion is painful (to me anyway) but man, at the college level, that guy is fun to watch.

2. I think they need just a few more logos and writing out around midfield. I can still see just a little bit of grass.

3. Keith Jackson sounds lost. Dan Fouts just sounds like Dan Fouts.

4. This game at times has just been silly. Very sloppy at times. Not what you'd expect from two championship caliber teams.

5. I think that this may end up being one of those games that is one you absolutely LOVE to watch if your team isn't playing, but one that makes your stomach absolutely sick if your team is playing.

I am enjoying the hell out of watching this game. But my team isn't playing. So I can just watch it as a football fan, laugh at the gaffes (Reggie Randle-EL), and appreciate the great talent on both side of the ball.

6. I surely hope the halftime show for this game is as good as the halftime show for last nights Orange Bowl, which was almost as bad as the halftime show at Last Years Orange Bowl........

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 12:00am

Leinart doesn't seem to be reading the defense very well tonight. Maybe he's just not used to seeing his receivers actually covered, but he's really forcing the ball in some bad places.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 12:01am

Not a bad scramble, but with that much money on the line, you gotta slide, dude.

by princeton73 (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 12:04am

It looks like USC thinks they're playing Oregon

by princeton73 (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 12:06am

Is Leinart drunk? He tripped over the hash mark.

(or does his sister go out with one of the Texas linebackers?)

by princeton73 (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 12:08am

well, it would be fitting, I suppose, if USC ends up winning by 1 based on the missed XP following the-touchdown-that-shouldn't-have-been

by Adam (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 12:09am

Texas just absolutely dominated that 2nd Quarter.

Bush's lateral is looming large.

by Adam (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 12:10am

"What stunk?"

Excellent question.

by Raf (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 12:14am

Well, SoCal's been a second-half team all season long; I wouldn't expect this game to be any different.

by R.J. (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 12:17am

The most telling question was whether the Texas secondary that has been so good all year against sub-standard Big 12 (n.b. possible exception of TTech) passing games would also be good against USC's pro-style passing attack. So far the answer is yes. If that keeps up they win this easily. On the other hand, the fumbles and poor decision to take the ball out of V. Young's hands on that 4th down play have let USC stay right in the game. And the Trojans are used to playing from behind and have shown time and again the ability to score quickly and practically at will when absolutely necessary. This looks to me like whoever has the ball last will win (unless Texas figures out that V. Young needs to keep the ball in his hands on about 2/3rds of the plays).

by Becephalus (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 12:17am

I was thinking the exact same thing about Vince Young, both in terms of being a more athletic Culpepper and in having a poor throwing mechanic. He will be the second coming of Mike Vick perhaps?

...does this make Marcus the third coming?

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 12:21am

Anybody in favor of Mike Tirico being forced to do play by play in every football game broadcast by ABC and ESPN? I don't care if they have to tie him to a chair in front of a bank of t.v. monitors in New York.

by Russell Levine :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 12:21am

Young is too athletic not to make it in the NFL in some capacity. Nobody can tackle the guy. And he's 230 pounds, so you could put him back there, let him run it 15 times a game and not worry that he's going to end up on a stretcher as much as Vick. The release is very low, but at least it's quick. I don't think they'll have to change it as much as everyone thinks for him to succeed in the NFL.

Strange half of football. I think it's more than a little premature to talk about SC like they're lost out there, they've done this all year. Trailed at halftime in four games, and they always look like a different team in the second half.

by Russell Levine :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 12:31am

I'm willing to put up with a shaky Keith Jackson to hear that voice. He's retiring after tonight (for real this time, I suspect) so give the guy a break. He IS college football.

I agree that Tirico is excellent and I was impresed that he and Herbstreit got the Orange Bowl call. They're clearly moving up in the ABC-SPN pecking order.

by admin :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 12:32am

Is this halftime ever going to end? I feel like I've been sitting here for an hour and that wasn't exactly the Southern and Grambling bands out there.

by ron (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 12:35am

What were the bands playing, USC sounded like "beat it" and the other seemed like a beatles song.

by Andrew (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 12:39am

Impressions of the first half.

Bush looks good, but not as good as he did against weaker defenses. He reminds me A LOT of Brian Westbrook or Tiki Barber. However, Carroll is not giving him (and LenDale White) the ball enough. Instead, we are seeing too much Leinart (see below.

Vince Young looks just superb, constantly making good decisions, and consequently completing a lot of passes and having the lead. He seems to use a either a run or a play fake on every down, and it works, the defense is left hesitating as to whether they must defend him throwing, running, or tossing to a RB. He is running an efficient short passing game to the Tight Ends that is moving the ball downfield and opening up occasional deeper routes.

Leinart looks just terrible. He is throwing into a lot of tight or double coverage, and is lucky to have not been picked off 3 or 4 times already. Plus he is taking some huge hits. He doesn't seem to know how to slide properly and protect himself. His 4th down conversion attempt was positively Kerry Collins-esque. I get the impression that Texas is the first good and speedy defense he has ever faced, because he is not handling it well. Nothing I am seeing would make me want to burn a first round pick on him. If he really does have skills translatable to the NFL, he looks to be a project.

by admin :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 12:45am

Oh, sweet straight arm. Sweet!

by R.J. (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 12:53am

I don't think there was much question that USC hadn't seen a defense anywhere close to this good this year. No one in the Pac-10 nor Notre Dame nor Fresno has much on the defensive side (especially pass defense). But with their tremendous offensive line and great backs and receivers, there was a justifiable belief that it wouldn't matter. You would expect Leinart to struggle some, but this Trojan team has shown the ability to rally whenever it was truly necessary. I still say it will come down to the last possession. Especially if Texas lets V. Young takeover.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 12:53am

Charles is like a wisp of smoke - he's there and all of a sudden, he's gone. He's the Keyser Soze of college football!

TD Horns. Young is a decent runner, from what I hear.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 12:59am

Hey, maybe Texas has figured out that USC likes flinging it out to the WR when the DB is laying way off. The last couple, they've attacked hard when the receiver doesn't come off the line, and have shut it down pretty well.

by Adam (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 1:04am

I left the room for 2 minutes and USC went ahead. What the hell happened?

by Jon (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 1:06am

Memo to ABC (and any other network that covers sports):

If we want to see individual fans celebrate, we just need to look around our living rooms.


by Ben (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 1:06am

Are they using instant replay in this game? I have counted 5 plays that could have been reviewed, at least four of them should have been reversed, and yet only two have been reviewed and one overturned. That third and one pass before the White TD was obviously incomplete. Why have instant replay if you won't use it?

by Adam (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 1:09am

Great run by Young.

by Becephalus (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 1:10am

I personally think White has looked alot better than Bush this game, but then again I have only seen 1 other USC game all year so I may not be wearing everyone elses Bush = God blinders.

by Adam (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 1:12am

This should be one helluva 4th quarter...........

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 1:12am

OK, Texas is doing the "RB left, Young right" run, and USC is completely playing the RB. The right DE is crashing down on that, the entire D-line is flowing left with the O-line. If Young fakes the handoff and runs right, it's wide open. If SC keeps playing the back that aggressively, I would hope Texas will adjust and abuse them.

by R.J. (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 1:13am

Every play that takes the ball out of V. Young's hands is a bad play, Texas. Learn it, live it.

by lk6 (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 1:14am

That Keyser Soze reference was great.

Thank you, Trogdor.

by Adam (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 1:16am

Hey, when did Jose Cortez enroll at Texas?

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 1:20am

Let's see. We're running it straight ahead for about seven yards a pop, and our play-action game is working pretty well. I know! Let's run a silly end-around and lose a bunch of yards! Sometimes I think coaches outthink themselves.

by Justus (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 1:21am

Jose Cortez, like all pro players, is the creme de la creme of college football. That means most college kickers, even at big name programs, are significantly worse than Jose Cortez.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 1:26am

Hmm. They praise the play of a random offensive lineman, then have a human interest story about him right after. What are the odds?

by PatsFan (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 1:30am

Is there really a rule in NCAA that the ball has to go inside the pylon to be a TD? Or is the NCAA goal plane "around the world" just like the NFL's and the announcers are just on crack?

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 1:33am

Wait, did Fouts just say that power will beat speed? Isn't that heresy for a college analyst to say? For years they've been hammering home about speed, and no matter what happens in a game, it's always "[losing team] just doesn't have the speed to match [winning team]". Come on Dan, get with the program! Don't go too far and admit that interior line play just might have something to do with anything.

See linked article for a more eloquent discussion of this annoying analytical trend, especially when a southern team beats a northern/midwestern one. Why bother analyzing what's actually happening, when you can just break out the old 'southern speed' cliche?

by Rocco (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 1:34am

This just in...Reggie Bush is fast. Really fast. You knew if he got enough chances, he'd break one and not lateral.

by PatsFan (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 1:35am

Apparently these college coaches need more practice at getting their teams to the line quickly to snap the ball before a review can start.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 1:35am

Indeed, the ball has to go inside the pylon. Whenever a player goes out of bounds going forward, the ball is supposed to be spotted where it breaks the out-of-bounds plane. It's much the same way they spot punts when they go out of bounds, but it really only gets attention around the goal line.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 1:38am

What is it with the gaps in Texas' defensive line in short yardage situations? I know USC can get to the perimeter in scary fashion, but giving White huge gaps to go through doesn't seem like a winning solution.

Also, was the block that sent the Texas de off the field close to being illegal?

Finally, givng away four points in the kicking game in a contest like this doesn't help much.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 1:40am

Did they just seriously have a montage asking if Reggie Bush is the greatest of all time? Are you kidding me? Is he even the greatest USC back of all time? I don't remember back to OJ, but nothing Bush has done looks better than any of his old highlights. I do remember watching some scrub named Sanders at OkSU, though, and Bush's year can't even compare, even before you consider the quality of teammates.

by Kevo (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 1:42am

It's at least a legitimate question, given that he's won a Heisman in only his Junior year. I know Sanders did that, and Archie Griffin, but I'm curious as to how many other college backs got that good that early.

by Becephalus (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 1:42am

Yeah Allen that definitely was a block in the back although from what I have seen blocks in the back in the line area never get called especially by TE like that.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 1:43am

It's not a chip shot when you've already missed two closer kicks, Keith. A 34-yarder should be an easy one, but you never know.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 1:45am

It'd be nice if Fouts could actually give some analysis of line play, with the producer supplying some illuminating camera work. White's touchdown run on fourth down was covered like a regular PAC-10 game playing at midnight on the east coast.

by Digit (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 1:46am

Keith: "It's Wiiiiiiiideee.... it's inside."

And USC's certainly made their adjustments, and found those holes in the Texas defense.

Ho boy. And roughing the passer penalty too.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 1:51am

And USC is breaking it open. Down 2 TDs with under 7 minutes, can Texas come back and make it interesting, or will they crumble and turn a close game into a blowout score? If they were facing Michigan, I'd put $500 on Texas to win right now, but against USC I don't know...

by Raf (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 1:51am

Now Griffin's down. Hope he's okay.

by Raf (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 1:56am

Griff okay, but Brown's probably got a broken arm.

While we're at it, let's not get carried away, either. Carroll may not be the best coach and defensive coordinator in the game now, let alone of all time.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 1:57am

I thought Texas would have to "hold" USC to 35 in order to have a chance to win. Guess I'll find out.

Am I crazy, or does anybody else think that Ohio State would have been a more formidable opponent? I think they may have put more pressure on Leinert, and although Young is tremendous, the other guy is no slouch, and the Ohio State wrs would have exposed the USC corners more.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 2:00am

Well, well.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 2:01am

Boy, he's good. I'll follow with yet more insightful analysis.

I really hope Carroll ends up being critized for forgoing a short field goal attempt in the first half. Not that I dislike Carroll, but just because I want an upset.

by Todd S. (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 2:07am

Great stop by the Texas D. Errr...at least it looks like it.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 2:08am

I'm sorry, but that is just plain dumb coaching, no matter what Easterbrook would say.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 2:10am

Why is Texas here instead of Ohio State? People have been critical of Tressell rotating QBs against Texas, conveniently forgetting that Smith played like garbage that game, and thinking he was the Michigan/ND Smith. So I think there's one person who's really to blame. That booster who gave Smith the money last year, that got him suspended for the bowl, the season opener, and all practice in between.

If Smith could've practiced all offseason, and wasn't insanely rusty against Texas, they would've won that game going away. And he really wasn't very sharp all year, until around the Minnesota game, including a pretty awful game against Penn State. If the Smith from the Fiesta Bowl was available all year, they go unbeaten, and are in this game. [Note: OSU fan opinion, PSU/Texas fans will likely disagree].

I could turn it into a reverse-morality tale, and blame the fan who reported the payout. But since sarcasm doesn't come across well in print, and someone might actually think I'm serious, I won't go there.

by Rocco (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 2:11am

It's certainly justifiable, but I think in a title game, with the other side having an explosive offense, I want them to go as possible to score.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 2:11am

If they review this and give a timeout, what a big break for Texas.

by Todd S. (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 2:11am

Keith Jackson just said "times out." Way to go, Keith!

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 2:13am

I hate it when I'm typing a long comment when something fun happens. I totally didn't get to question why USC would go for it on 4th. Of course, if they made it, they run out the clock and he's a genius. Still think it's a bad call though.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 2:15am

Re: me in comment 9.

Congrats, this game has been more than half as entertaining as the 2002/3 game. What an ending!

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 2:17am

I miss Dusty Mangum. Tell me that name wasn't an old NWA wrestler's name!

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 2:18am

Jim Mora Jr. would kick the FG here.

by Todd S. (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 2:18am

What a great game. Not quite over yet...

by Devin McCullen (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 2:18am

Can we get a re-vote on the Heisman?

by R.J. (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 2:19am

If they didn't let V. Young run it with the game on the line I was going to . . . (said the guy who took Texas on the money line)

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 2:19am

Well, in my preferred playoff system, which is reserved for conference champs, Ohio State wouldn't have got in, so I won't complain.

Can the Heisman vote be retaken?

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 2:20am

One more consecutive, and I'll have to change my name to Carl. But did Dan Fouts just break out the "in-Vince-ible" pun?

Wouldn't it be hilarious if USC got a turnover on the 2-pointer and ran it back for the win? But man, wasting a timeout here could bite them. Not as bad with the first down clock stopping, but still.

by admin :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 2:20am

Why on earth would USC take a timeout here? Why why why why why????? Is there something about college rules I just don't understand, or was that shockingly pointless?

by Rocco (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 2:21am

They had 12 on the field, that's why.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 2:22am

OK, so again I ask why USC took a timeout there. Was there any doubt it was going to be a QB draw?

Matt Leinart's dad isn't nearly as attractive as Brady Quinn's sister. He's up there with Bubby Brister's mom and Kurt Warner's wife, though.

by Kevo (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 2:22am

so instead of giving up 1.5 yards, they burn a valuable TO. Good coaching, Fredo.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 2:22am

Unbelievable. Is Young going to fly the charter back to Texas as well?

by Devin McCullen (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 2:22am

The only non-stupid thing about the timeout is that they'll likely be throwing the ball much more than 10 yards, so the clock would stop on any completions. Also, it's Pete Carroll.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 2:23am

Rushing four is not the mother of all prevents.

by louis (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 2:24am

The Texas Longhorns would like to thank their MVP of this game, Darnell Bing.

*rim shot*

by Kevo (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 2:24am

2005 Trojans vs. 2005 Longhorns--who would win?

Let's ask Kirk Herbstreit and Mark May.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 2:25am

Carroll has been shockingly outcoached by a guy with an undeserved rep as a choker, no matter how this would have ended.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 2:25am

Congrats Texas.

Heck of a year for Mack Brown, eh?

And once again, the Toledo barrier stops a team at 34. Matt Leinart, like Ken Dorsey, is no Chuck Ealey!

by Rocco (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 2:26am

Leinart blew it there, although at that point you're looking for a miracle.

Not to take away from Texas, but they got a gift TD. Maybe they score on that drive anyway...but it shouldn't have counted.

by cjfarls (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 2:26am

Wow... Only watched the last 8 minutes... but Vince Young is kinda good. [mother of understatements]

by Todd S. (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 2:27am

Mack Brown = no longer "Mr. February." Congrats.

I don't know if this will come up or not, but it looked like the clock was running after the officials spotted the ball right after the 5-yard face mask on USC, on the Texas TD drive. Those few seconds may have come in handy at the end...for USC.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 2:27am

Herbstreit: 49-17, USC.

May: duuuhhh.... mini-Carrolls 137, Texas 5. Also, I'm a big idiot and everything about me sucks.

by admin :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 2:29am

This being FO, mostly an NFL site, and me being basically an NFL guy, let me introduce the biggest topic on FO for the 1-2 years. "Can Vince Young do this in the pros, or is he Michael Vick Part II -- or worse, Michael Bishop Part II?" Because 200 yards rushing for a quarterback with three touchdowns and 30-for-40 passing? Insanity.

by ron (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 2:29am

shouldn't abc be interviewing the winning coach and qb? talk about being disrespected

by Justus (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 2:30am

Vince Young looked better than Leinart or Bush today. If you're an NFL team with a high draft pick does the less-than-superhuman performances (not that 360 yards or 6.2 y/a rushing is bad in any way) of Leinart and Bush against an actual defense (though one still worse than the Saints) cause you to rethink your draft? Does it take the pressure off of making a "name brand" pick at all?

by Russell Levine :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 2:30am

Wow, just ...wow.

Other than some spotty use/non-use of replay, I can't think of a single negative thing to say about this game. How amazing for something to be hyped that much, and more than deliver.

I love that Carroll went for it on that 4th-and-2. He knew if they punted, Young was going to come right down the field anyway. That was the play for the game, and Texas made it.

by Devin McCullen (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 2:31am

I really hope Vince Young doesn't come out, and not just because I'm afraid the Jets might take him.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 2:31am

Looks like a pretty good game in Austin next September ninth.

by Harris (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 2:31am

Dammit! When USC went up by 12 with less than 7 minutes to play I turned off the game. Crap, crap, crap.

by Todd S. (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 2:32am

#153 Perhaps a better comp for Young will be McNabb? Possible. He just seems to be a more accurate passer this year than Vick was in college. But my sample size is too limited to really make a judgment. He looked lost against Texas A&M, one of the worst pass defenses in the country.

So...it's late...and I'm rambling.

by Rocco (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 2:32am


I don't know why they weren't expecting them to go for 2 and had such confusion. I mean, a chimp could have read the chart and figured it out. Then again, there's a reason he's a shaky coach.

by R.J. (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 2:36am

V. Young is a much better runner than McNabb could ever dream of being. But he sure doesn't look like a typical NFL passer. It would take an offense unlike anything in the current NFL...but you never know. Sure seems like a creative mind could find a way to use that kind of athletic talent.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 2:36am

russell, we'll have to agree to disagree on that one.

by admin :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 2:37am

How about Vince Young playing QB for the San Antonio Saints with head coach Brad Childress? Would that work?

by Kevo (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 2:38am

I really don't see a proper comparison for the way VY ran tonight. He was about as "in the zone" as it gets. He runs like Vick, though not as fast and certainly a lot bigger and more durable. He throws a lot better than Vick.

The one criticism I've heard is that his windup is too long, but watching the game with my dad, he commented that Randall Cunningham had a longer windup and still threw pretty well. I guess with Cunningham's athletic ability, he's the best comparison I can make for Vince Young.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 2:39am

Ah yes, now we get the postgame stuff from the network who spent all year telling us that USC was the best team of all time, saying how much Texas was disrespected by hearing so much about how USC was the best team of all time. Gotta love the media!

by Travis (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 2:39am

Re: 162

I just hope Vince Young winds up with a coach that knows how to use individual QB talent (Dan Reeves?) rather than one who sticks him in a set system (Jim Mora the younger).

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 2:41am

Young should only stay in school if he can get a thirty of forty million dollar insurance policy, which would greatly lessen the interest in the September ninth game next season.

by Kevo (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 2:41am

ESPN was running a news piece saying Young would likely stay another year because he might not be a Top 5 pick in the draft. But after this game, I'm willing to bet he'll be a Top 5 pick.

by Russell Levine :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 2:41am

Re: 163, I assume you're talking about USC going for it?

That's the way Carroll's coached all year. No point in changing now.

As sick as VY was running the ball tonight, don't forget he was every bit as good against Michigan last year.

If he does come out, and I think he should, it's going to be fascinating what happens to the draft order.

by T. Diddy (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 2:45am

I know it's cliched, but Young looked like he was just playing a different game than everybody else on the field (with the exception of Bush's one sideline run for a TD, which was simply amazing). When he rolled out on the final Texas play, was there any doubt he'd get the ball in the end zone?

Between tonight and the Orange Bowl last night, two of the most exciting football days of recent memory. And I, like most people here, am mostly an NFL fan.

Okay, time for some sleep, and a little bit of regret that I didn't go to a Division 1-A football school.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 2:46am

Well, Russell, bad choice in September is still a bad choice, even when it works out, even ignoring that making bad choices against inferior opponents is often less costly.

by Charles Jake (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 2:51am


I was tempted to turn it off, but I vowed never to do that after I missed the Colts comeback against Tampa on MNF a few years ago. I'm glad I stuck around, even if I do have to wake up at 5:30 am.

Boy, did Reggie Bush have the most ordinary 6.2 avg/1 TD game you've ever seen or what?

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 2:54am

I keep going back and forth on the 4th down call. If you go for it and make it, you win and you're a genius. If you miss and Texas scores [what happened], you're an idiot. If you punt, and Texas goes down and scores, you're an idiotic coward who didn't trust the best offense ever to pick up 2 yards, and gave the ball over to Vince Young with plenty of time left. What were you thinking? If you punt and hold them, nobody ever mentions it.

I definitely understand the sentiment to go for it. But the risk of giving them the ball at the 40 with ~2 minutes left is too great. I think you have to punt, and if they can go 80-90 yards in 1:50-ish, you just have to live with it. As it is, they barely made it in time, and while I know you can't assume things would go the same way, and extra 30 yards to go would have to make a difference. If nothing else, maybe they rush more and force a throw downfield instead of being able to nickle and dime it, and maybe you can pick one off.

Believe me, as a longtime Browns fan I know how nerve-wracking it can be giving the ball back to the other team like that. But sometimes you have to trust your defense can stop them, or at least hold them long enough.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 3:00am

It's amazing that Bush ran for 80-some and caught passes for 90-some, with great averages on both, and we're talking about how un-impressive it was. It was almost an anti-Cadillac game. When Carnell was at Auburn, he'd routinely break off two or three highlight-reel runs per game, and that's all they'd show on the highlight shows, so I'd assume he had a monster game. Then I'd look at the stats, and it would be like "21 carries, 64 yards" and I'd be amazed that so little production could come from such spectacular plays.

Tonight Bush was, except for that one run, the opposite. He put up pretty good numbers, the kind of stats that most backs would kill for, but it was so ho-hum. Aside from the TD, not a single play stands out in my memory. And honestly, that might be a good sign for his NFL career, if he can rack up yardage without needing to be spectacular.

by Slippery Pete (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 3:00am

I know an article was posted today on ESPN.com saying the Vince Young is leaning toward staying for his senior season, but does anyone else think he will change his mind after tonight? Count me as one of those who think he will.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 3:04am

They only forced Texas into one fourth down situation during that short drive, although that was partly due to a five-yard facemask. If they have to go eighty or ninety yards instead, it becomes a much more difficult prospect. I may feel differently if USC had faced a fourth and inches, but this was not even close to being a tap-in.

by GatorGriff (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 3:14am

I have a question...What the hell happened to R-Bush in the second half, did Carroll forget about him? White and Leinhart were good all game, but my god, give the ball to Reggie Bush...

by Kal (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 3:17am

I don't think you punt. I don't think you call the most obvious play ever though. But a punt gets you maybe 30 more yards, and as we saw Texas had no problem moving the ball. They had 20 seconds and a TO left at the end of their drive. I don't think 30 yards would stop them.

The right call is to go for the win. I think it was the wrong playcall but the right overall call.

I don't think Young will go; he most likely won't be a top-5 pick, and I think he wants to be the #1 QB next year. Which if he stays in, he's almost certainly going to do.

by Larry (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 3:17am

Man, I love living on the West Coast on nights like this. I've got to weigh in on the go-for-it side. Neither defense was making any plays, there just wasn't enough to be gained by punting to balance the idea they could win right there. And USC still came close to forcing overtime anyway.

VY was spectacular. Why is no one talking about LenDale White, who had a game that was pretty damn good?

Anyway, I'm glad USC lost, so I can stop listening to people out here in LA being full of them.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 3:18am

The tough thing about projecting Young to the NFL is that he simply can't run like that at the next level and stay healthy, no matter his size. I am not as concerned with his throwing motion as some, and I do suspect his work ethic is superior to Vick's, so I think he can be a top-echelon passer for a long time, as long as he ends up with a coach with a Gibbs-like philosophy for protecting the passer, instead of a maniac like Martz who likes to serve up big steaming piles of kill the quarterback on a regular basis. I just don't think you want him rushing for 150 yards regularly with that kind of guaranteed money devoted to him, and with the way NFL defenses hit.

by Jon (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 3:19am

Re: 178

It's hard to criticize USC's 2nd half playcalling, seeing how they scored TDs on 4 of 5 full possessions in the 2nd half. However, I don't understand how he's not even on the field on the 4th and 2 play, even if it's just as a decoy.

by GatorGriff (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 3:26am

In their last two possessions before Texas scored the go-ahead TD, Bush, oh-by-the-way-the-Heisman-Throphy-winner and the best college football play I've seen since Herschel Walker did not touch the ball.

I never thought I would say this, but Pete Carroll got outcoached by the used car salesman that is Mack Brown.

by Tom (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 3:31am

Oh, boy, 161 comments, and no chance to hop onto the computer.

Mea culpa: I expected Bush to have the big game and White to be shut down. I think what Texas did was oversold the edges, and that left gaps open in the middle. This was especially clear late in the game... when Texas was in the base 4-3 and brought the two OLBs down right on the outsides of the tackles and had the MLB about 2 yards behind the tackles, White was able to run successfully. When all 3 LBs were playing about 4 yards off, White was much more limited. I'm not sure if that was consistent throughout the game, but it was definitely true in the 4th.

It's nice to know the infractions of holding and offensive pass interference have gone the way of players being killed on the field. I normally really like the Big 10 refs, but these didn't impress me. I think the calls largely evened out, since, as noted above, the end zone angle made it look like the ball was out of VY's hand on the pitch. The game came down to USC's failure on 4th down and their inability to stop VY, and I don't think either was affected by any egregious missed calls.

What's the over/under on someone who's never heard Dan Fouts doing a Pac-10 non-conference game before recognizing he's an alumnus of a Pac-10 school, five minutes? Granted, he wasn't as bad this game as he was during, say, the Oregon-Michigan game in 2003, but I can't stand him. He's ok during non-Pac-10 games, but nothing special. Keith Jackson is an institution and still has a great voice, but he's a bit like John Madden now, unreliable as an accurate describer of what's going on on the field.

Reggie Bush looks more like a WR/RB flex guy in the NFL than a true RB. I still hesitate to take him at #1 because I'm not sold he's an every-down player in the NFL, and the Texans have bigger holes than another "skill player" on offense.

VY in the NFL Draft presents an interesting question. I'm not sure quite how his play tonight compares to Mike Vick in the 2000 Orange Bowl v. FSU... VY's team won the game, but Vick single-handedly kept a lesser team in the game. I could see going to the Titans at #3; he has a pre-existing relationship with McNair, and this would allow him to sit on the bench for up to 2 years while Steve finishes out his career. VY is much more accurate a college passer than Bishop was. If you take a look at Bishop's stats from '98 in the link, he was a 55.6% passer and had some truly dreadful games, like 9-25 and 8-23 in consecutive weeks. OTOH, VY's worst accuracy game this year was 15-30 against OkSU, when he single-handedly ran the Longhorns back into the game. I don't recall ever seeing him throw the 15-yard out, though, and that may be the throw that separates very good college QBs from NFL QBs.

by Tom (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 3:40am

I somehow managed not to comment on the call to go on 4th down. I agree with the comments above that going for it on 4th down was the right call. You've been running White largely successfully for much of the game, though Texas had adapted to the running plays that drive. I think actually running White ahead was the wrong call, but faking to it and going somewhere else would have been better. Something like double-TE (Byrd/Davis) and White/Bush in the backfield with Smith (less likely to drop it than Jarrett, I think) the sole WR, with a fake to White and maybe then a pass to the TE or Bush on a swing.

by Kal (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 3:45am

Yeah, that was what I was thinking to - PA to White, boot to 83 or 86, or if it's there just run it for the two yards.

by Ron (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 4:06am

You know, it's interesting that I couldn't find a soul all week among people I know and among media outlets outside of Texas to say the obvious: Vince Young is the finest player in the country, let alone on the Rose Bowl field tonight. Perhaps what I'm about to say has been said by someone already, but at risk of invoking the dreaded "ad nauseam" clause:

1) No other Heisman contender this year had a Heisman Trophy winning QB in their backfield this year - other than Reggie Bush...and,

2) No other RB in the country had a backup / combination back of LenDale White ilk. I mean, Reggie Bush is spectacular, yes, but let's be real here...he didn't have to take goal-line snaps more or less, and when he was taken out the game, they didn't lose a thing running the ball...leading him to get valuable rest not afforded to most backs.

Add in the talent he does have, and you get ESPN showing crazy highlights which lead voters to check his name off on their ballots...further justified with a Fresno State game - which, in it's own right, was quite extraordinary for Bush in terms of sheer offensive output (but is mitigated by the fact that all the getback work he had to do was necessitated by his own ridiculous fumble which gave Fresno State a chance for the upset).

Meanwhile, Vince Young WAS the Texas offense all year, with apologies to the RB Young and Limas Sweed (hope I spelled that right). He did it all by himself man. He scored twice as man TDs as Bush, had more passing yards than Leinert, and was responsible for more clutch plays than I can remember from a single player in college football in a looong time.

And the Rose Bowl proved it. Of the 550+ yards Texas produced, Vince was responsible for about 450 yards of it (250 passing, 200 rushing, if I can recall correctly). With the clutch TDs, not the least of which was the clincher.

Reggie Randle-El? Please man...

I'm sorry guys, but the case was made all year. I, for one, add my name to the voice openly hurling hog fat at ESPN for their shameless touting of USC in the last few weeks...most egregiously with this blasphemous comparison of the 2005 Trojan squad who hadn't even played it's most important and challeging game yet to some of College Football's greatest ever.

To think, Leinert was still pumpin' that "I believe we're the best team, they just made a few more plays." Unbelievable.

You know what, Matt? That's because Texas is better, kid. Now go get fitted for your black and gold NFL jersey...

by David (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 4:11am

Decent first half, awesome second half. I'll take that. This was the first time I'd seen any of the participants play, and...well, Bush was distinctly underwhelming. Good, obviously, but with the hype he's gotten I was waiting to see him run roughshod over puny college defenses like he might actually be the savior of some downtrodden NFL program straight out of the draft. Didn't look like it. Vince Young was amazing, though. Great legs, good arm, great instincts. Heres hoping the Chiefs trade up for him, or something, because if the Saints get their hands on him I will be an unhappy football fan.

Also, I am dismayed that neither of my predictions came true. But I'll get over it.

by Tom (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 4:31am

Two points for discussion:

#1: How does this compare to the 2003 Fiesta Bowl, the previous time an attempt to tie Toledo's mark failed? I think the best part of that game was the 2 OT sessions, including the key PI penalty on 4th down. Fewer points made for fewer lead changes, but the best player on the field wasn't clearly on the team that came in as the underdog, as was the case tonight. I gave the edge to 2003, though I admit my tOSU partisanship may be clouding that decision.

#2: What are the final rankings? I think it has to be Texas #1, USC #2, PSU #3, and Ohio State #4, but after that is unclear. Do you promote wholesale LSU, WVA, VaTech, Alabama, TCU from 10-14 (AP/USAT) to 5-9, or can we recognize that WVA probably deserved to be ranked higher, or at least ahead of an LSU team whose last game pre-bowls was to a Georgia team by 20 that WV just beat? Early returns in the Coaches' Poll show that group promotion is just what happened, but I think I would've had Georgia ahead of TCU, and maybe also Alabama, in addition to WV #5, then LSU and VaTech. It doesn't really matter, I guess, but it's an interesting puzzle.

by Larry (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 4:36am

I just wanted to add that, while his voice is certainly an institution, Keith Jackson really was an embarassment calling this game. It's too bad, really, but I don't think one of the best college football games I've ever seen should have been marred by it.

On a more positive note, I'd like to thank the BCS (no, really) for bringing us this memorable matchup, which a decade ago, we'd never have gotten to see.

by Carlos (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 4:49am

Am I alone in thinking that the discussion about going for it or not on the final 4th and 2 misses the really boneheaded call by Carroll... calling for a pass with the clock running and 2:40 remaining in the game??

Hand the ball off there, and then again on third... and first of all, you've probably got a first down given how well USC ran all night, and even if not you've used up another 30+ seconds!!

Pete Carroll apparently learned clock mgt at the Norv Turner Finishing School.

by pudge (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 5:39am

Re: 189: I think the top 4 will be ranked the way you have them, though I would put Ohio State in the number 3 position, seeing how they dominated Notre Dame, while Penn State took three OTs to put away Bobby Bowden's cheap shot thug army Florida State.

As to the remainder of the top ten, LSU has to be 5th, given the way they eviscerated Miami, with maybe WVA 6th, Virginia Tech 7th, Bama 8th, and I'd want to sneak Wisconsin in 9th or 10th for a solid win over Auburn... don't know about that other spot. TCU or Florida or maybe a consolation spot for Notre Dame.

by pudge (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 5:42am

One more thing: the funniest call of the night had to be (I think it was) Fouts' comparing that one Reggie Bush touchdown run to Quidditch. Is that the first use of Harry Potter imagery as a metaphor in a football broadcast?

by Biffy (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 6:00am

So, after the nauseating ESPN "USC is better than all the best college teams ever! Ever! Really! Forever and ever and by miles!" series, does this mean that Texas is better than all of those great teams? Logically it must. Of course it was always annoying nonsense, but still.

Why, when I see Reggie Bush do I think "KiJana Phillips"? Why is no college player ever the Next Danny Wuerful, the Next Akili Smith, the Next Lawrence Phillips, the Next Ron Dayne?

Finally, all you "Ohio State would be a better opponent than Texas." guys, where are you now? Did you forget Texas beat Ohio State at home? Did you think that was a fluke, even though no one EVER beats Ohio State at home?

READ IT AND WEEP, NATIONAL MEDIA - The Mack Brown Coached TEXAS LONGHORNS are #1, and freaking deserve it.

by Biffy (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 7:45am

And hey, yes, I will comment to myself, now having read the whole thread (and about six articles, and watched various recaps.

1. The Pitch Touchdown - given the two angles I don't think there is indisputable evidence that VY didn't pitch before his knee touched down. One angle tells one story, the other tells another - you can't overturn a call on that. It should have been reviewed though.

2. Matt Leinart is a brat. His postgame interview was so phony, childish and spoiled, with such a whiny undertone that I hope he gets the beatings he so richly deserves in the NFL on a regular basis. But I don't think the basis is going to be all that regular - he's already got concussion problems and those never get better, only worse. I'd like to say I'm sorry about that, but after watching a few of his interviews over the years, I'm not, particularly.

3. Vince Young in the NFL - I think he's going to do very well in the NFL - as a quarterback. Having a perfect motion big arm and sweet release means less than knowing where to throw it and when, just ask Ryan Leaf. I don't think Vince will run as much in the NFL, but his game won't demand that he scramble to enjoy any success. Did anyone notice how rarely he was hit by a lineman, or even a 'backer on his runs? (Few college linemen or linebackers have a hope in hell of catching VY anyway.) Vince picks his spots well - and he will get open receivers wherever he plays because his running ability will tie up so many players at the line.

4. USC 2005 - Not Remotely Close To The Greatest Team to Ever Play Football.

ok thats it

by admin :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 9:21am

And now, a message for our friends in Seattle.

The overpromoted USC Trojans are located in the Pacific Time Zone. Pacific Time Zone Media Bias.


by Walt Pohl (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 10:51am

For the purposes of media bias, southern California is located on the East Coast.

by Daniel Warehall (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 10:51am

Seriously, it was a great game! I don't feel so bad about being a Michigan fan...

Thoughts on the game...

Vince Young is really, really good...

The unnoticed play of the game was the Texas WR (Swedd?) blatently pushing the USC defender in the endzone... Even if it would have been called for PI (Offensive PI in college...sure that'll be called) he prevented an INT that would have sealed the game for USC.

Did I mention Vince Young is amazing?

Vince Young didn't deserve the Heisman. His big games happened earlier in the year than the Bush's Fresno State game.

I agree with USC going for it.

That Vince Young is amazing...

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 11:43am

Russ, You're right. Going for it on 4th and 2 was the right call. My problem is the call to throw it on second and 7 on that same set of downs with 3:30 left. Thats a perfect running down, and if you throw the ball, it stops the clock either way, and thats the last thing you want to do. If he runs on that down, even if they dont get the first down, texas gets the ball back with 1:30 instead of 2:01, and I dont think they score.

by Andrew (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 11:47am

I think Vince Young is a lot like Donovan McNabb and Steve McNair in his prime (pre 2003), and not like Vick or Cunningham (to small, skittish, and freakish) or Fumblepepper (to big).

Look at: efficient passing game using the Tight End (think Wychek and Chad Lewis). Ability to elude and shake-off tacklers (when has Vick ever shaken a linebacker or safety off his legs?). Low interceptions per attempt. Minimal number of sacks. Intelligent running and avoidance of hits while doing so. Good decision making finding the open man, seeing running lanes, avoiding throws into coverage.

Can he run for 200 yards in an NFL game no. But he could definitely run for 50, 75, 100, even 125 occasionally. McNabb and McNair have done that.

Brad Childress, Gary Kubiak, Steve Mariucci, Dan Reeves, etc. would all know how to take advantage of these skills in crafting an NFL offense.

by ToxikFetus (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 12:13pm

Rose Bowl related quote of the day:

"Listening to [Keith] Jackson is like driving with my mother at night. In other words, maybe he can't really see anymore, and he might drive over a few curbs, and maybe he'll even send a pedestrian diving behind a parking meter ... but it's always exciting, and you always get home safely in the end."

-- Bill Simmons

by Tom (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 12:42pm

Re #193
Dan Fouts mentioned during the USC-UCLA telecast that his daughter said it looked like Reggie Bush was playing Quidditch out there. It apparently went over well enough that he decided to use it again.

by TomC (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 1:01pm

Thoughts on the 4th-and-2 call:

1: By the percentages, I think it's the right call -- depending on what you think the relative probabilities are of Texas's scoring on a drive starting at their 45 versus a drive starting at their 20 or slightly worse. Let's say there was a 70% chance that Texas scores from their 45 but only a 40% chance they score from their 20 or inside. Let's assume further that USC's chances of converting the 4th-and-2 were 50% (which I think is pessimistic given how the offense was operating). Given these assumptions, the probability that Texas scores is 40% if USC punts and 35% if they go for it. Obviously, all of these probabilities were pulled out of nowhere, but I think it would be hard to make the case that going for it was a terrible decision.

2. What was a terrible decision -- at least in my opinion -- was leaving Reggie Bush on the bench for the 4th-and-2 play. Not having Bush as even a threat to touch the ball made it easy for Texas to clog the middle, assuming that the ball was going to White. That was the only time in the entire 2nd half that UT stopped LenDale up the middle, and I believe Bush's absence had a lot to do with that.

by Mikey (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 1:03pm

Man, was I impressed with LenDale White. Talk about an NFL body.

Of all the stars in last night's game I think he's the safest bet to be a productive NFL player. Not that he will necessarily be the best of the bunch, just that he seems to me to present the least risk of being a bust.

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 1:32pm


About 10 minutes into the game I was thinking: "Now I know why Reggie's YPC are so high. Lendale is a beast."

He was carrying defenders down the field, when reggie was doing nothing.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 1:44pm

Well, if the odds of Texas going eighty or ninety yards is roughly in the same area as USC going one or two yards, then USC's defense is much, much, worse than I thought. Carroll knows his defense better than I do, so I'll give him the benefit of the doubt, I guess. Even with this call removed, he was still thoroughly outcoached.

by TomC (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 2:01pm

Well, if the odds of Texas going eighty or ninety yards is roughly in the same area as USC going one or two yards, then USC’s defense is much, much, worse than I thought.

No, Will, the key question is whether the odds of Texas going eighty or ninety yards divided by the odds of Texas going fifty-five yards are in the same area as USC failing to convert on 4th-and-2.

Since this is FO, indulge me in a tiny bit of math here:
P(85) = probability that Texas scores from 80 or 90 yards out.
P(55) = probability that Texas scores from 55 yards out.
P(no4-2) = probability that USC fails on 4th-and-2.

The odds that Texas scores if USC punts is just P(85), while the odds that Texas scores if USC goes for it is P(55)*P(no4-2). For Carroll's decision to have been the right one, we need the probability that Texas scores after USC going for it to be less than the probability that Texas scores after USC punting, or:
P(55)*P(no4-2) [less than] P(85),
which with the tiniest of algebra becomes:
P(no4-2) [less than] P(85)/P(55).

I contend that (with the right playcall), USC had something like an 80% chance to convert on 4th-and-2, which means that Carroll's decision was bad only if the extra 30 yards to be gained by punting made it five times less likely for Texas to score.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 2:38pm

Well, Tom, I think USC's chances are 80% against the average defense they played this year, but not against Texas. Remember, Texas stopped USC on fourth and and even shorter in the first half as well, which was a poorer decision by Carroll.

I also think that emotion plays a large role in football performance, and as much as I enjoy, support, and appreciate the FO approach, it can't quantify the emotional lift gained from stopping the fourth down play, and how it may increase the spread of probabilities between Texas scoring from their 45 and Texas scoring from their 15.

by Andrew (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 3:18pm

Does anyone else think Leinart would have gotten a lot more money last year than he will this year after last nights performance?

Maybe being a 49er under Nolan wouldn't have been so bad afterall.

Better than being a fraud of a student.

by Russell Levine :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 3:36pm

As a straight financial decision, Leinart made a mistake. But I still doubt he has regrets. For the past year, he's been the absolute Prince of LA, gotten to play college football full-time (fraud or not, he's earned his college degree and the right to take just that ballroom dancing class), and gotten to spend one final year where football was a game, not a job. I'm not sure he minds that scenario over getting his head kicked in behind the SF line this year.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 3:36pm

I think Leinert played a great game last night. I do think he would have been first overall last year, but I also think he realized that his draft spot had a good chance of slipping if he didn't come out, but he decided, for a variety of reasons, that it was worth playing one more year of college ball anyways. I don't know why this bothers anyone.

by Ryguy (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 3:37pm

re209, c'mon Ballroom dancing has to count.

by Ryguy (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 3:39pm

Also look at last year's draft.. nobody wanted a QB after Alex Smith, Aaron Rogers was left sitting in the green room for hours.. I don't know if anyone would take Leinart, but he will still make enough in the draft.

Plus lets not pass up that Leinart had a GREAT second half.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 3:44pm

Any player who slips to Tennessee may be fortunate, assuming Jeff Fisher remains there. Fisher is a terrific coach, and it is unlikely that a Fisher-coached team will remain extremely inept for long periods.

by Sid (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 3:50pm

Bad day for the refs and a bad day for the booth. They claim they were having technical difficulties when Young was down and lateraled to Young for the TD.
That play should have been buzzed and overturned, and the same thing for the Leinart INT that was called incomplete.
Keith Jackson was terrible.

I don't understand why Leinart chose to go for it on 4th down early in the game (4th and 2, IIRC). I didn't see the need.

by Tom (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 3:52pm

Re #213
I think the reason Rodgers sat in the green room for hours was because people didn't think he was as good as the hype had him being. I know Titans GM Floyd Reese was on the record last year as saying something like, "If there's a franchise QB in the draft and you don't already have a franchise QB in his prime, you have to draft him. And there's at least one franchise QB in the 2005 Draft," before the Titans took Pacman Jones #6 overall.

As for Leinart's decision to stay in school, I think Russell in #210 pegged it right, and I can't say I blame him.

by TomC (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 4:46pm

I also think that emotion plays a large role in football performance, and as much as I enjoy, support, and appreciate the FO approach, it can’t quantify the emotional lift gained from stopping the fourth down play, and how it may increase the spread of probabilities between Texas scoring from their 45 and Texas scoring from their 15.

Well put, Will. I can't argue with that.

by Bart (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 4:51pm

Not that I'm sure it would have mattered, since USC's defense played pretty horribly all night long...aside from Vince's many runs, his receivers seemed to be wide open on almost every pass...but USC really seemed to get the short end of the stick on the instant replay stuff.

The Leinart interception that was initially ruled incomplete isn't an issue; INT was clearly the correct call.

It sure looked like VY's knees was down on that lateral for a touchdown. Given how USC's D was playing, this may not have mattered in the long run, but USC should have at least gotten the chance to try to hold Texas to a FG or less on that possession.

I thought that on that one incomplete pass that was reviewed, it seemed to me that the Texas receiver did catch it and fumble, but can understand why it wasn't overturned. Similarly, if it had been ruled a fumble on teh field, I don't think they could have overturned that call either.

One thing that I haven't seen mentioend is the replay on the Texas' final drive. One look at the replay should have shown that the receiver was down; it was CLEARLY not a fumble. But they stopped the game to look anyway and even put 7 seconds back on the clock, basically giving Texas a free time out. Texas still had 2 times out at that point, but they hadn't called one right after that play. getting a few more seconds and/or hanging on to 1 TO (if they would have called one if the review didn't happen) could have changed their approach or playcalling...they were able to use teh whole field instead of having to worry about clock stoppages.

Still, the biggest turning point in the game was BUsh's idiotic lateral. It totally changed hte momentum of hte first half, in addition to being at least a 10 point swing (USC would have at least gotten a FG, and I think Texas got a touchdown on the ensuing posession).

Not saying Texas didn't deserve to win; they were carving up USC's D all night long, though the baunted Texas D didn't look all that great either. But I think the officiating pretty much sucked.

by Chris (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 5:56pm

The Refs in that game looked like they were terrified of screwing up. Instead of calling the game regularly, they'd generally wait 5-10 seconds after any questionable plays, looking at each other before eventually HAVING to rule something.

by PatsFan (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 6:09pm
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 6:12pm

Usually I dont watch college football. After watching 5 or 6 bowl games, I wont watch again for a couple years. The officiating was bad enough to have decided ATLEAST 3 of the games I watched, and in all the games I wwas left asking "Can anyone tackle in college?"

USC and Texas, specifically, the tackling was awful, and the linebacker/corner on the right (from vince young's perpective) kept collapsing to the inside every time the pocket started to collapse. They kept looking for a sack when they should have maintained contain. This happened 10 times minimum in the second half, and the same guy KEPT biting on it.

Part of me wants to yell at the player, and part of me things the coach should have yelled at him, or sat him down.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 9:25pm

Well, Rich, that is the difference between being one of the top 4500 football players between the ages of about 17 and 22, and being one of the top 1700 football players of any age. Not surprisingly, there is quite a difference in performance. I also think that if there was a five week break between the end of the regular season and the playoffs in the NFL, we would be astonished at the fall-off in performance. All the more reason to hope for a playoff syetem in college. The officiating, however, really is aggravating.

by Eric K (not verified) :: Fri, 01/06/2006 - 10:23pm

Excellent piece of mathematics by Tom C on post 207.

I'm not going to read all the posts, but why isn't anyone mentioning the Texas interception before halftime that was called incomplete with the score 16-7? At that point the Texas offense smelled blood. How would a 23-7 halftime lead with Texas receiving the second half kickoff have affected the final score? Yes, Vince Young's knee hit the ground but that was an intercepted pass.

Anyway, this was the biggest Texas win since the Battle of San Jacinto!