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     USC beats UCLA 29-24, Cal punished by BCS for beating Southern Mississippi
    Sports: Athletic Contests
    The 2004 University of Southern California Trojan football team went beginning to end ranked number one in both wire service polls. Every opponent brought their best game and lost. California and USC played the game that probably will have settled #1 and #3 in the final polls. UCLA had three weeks to prepare, but it still was not enough, as Reggie Bush could not be stopped. He might even have stolen some of Matt Leinart's Heisman ballots...

    The Bruins should feel no shame about this particular game, as many of the Trojan faithful, ABC Announcer Keith Jackson included, felt that UCLA was right in it while they were only a touchdown away.

    When the Bruins recovered a Trojan fumble with 53 seconds to play, you could hear the collective gasp. What if our crosstown rival beats us in front of the world? The need not have worried, as the Drew Olson threw an interception in the next play, and then it was all over.

    Heisman hopeful Matt Leinart was sacked, hurried and foiled at many turns, and failed to throw a touchdown pass for the first time in two seasons. UCLA just could not rush the ball. They sent several plays up the middle for no gain, just to keep the Trojans honest. In the end what worked best was for UCLA QB Drew Olson to chew up short yardage in quick passes. The long pass was just not working. Bruin special teams kept hope alive, including a UCLA record-setting punt return for 96 yards by Craig Bragg. It may also be a Rose Bowl stadium record, as the previous Rose Bowl Game record was from the 1955 Ohio State/USC game. Aranius Dandoy scored the only Trojan touchdown on an 88-yard punt return. The record ties the Longest USC punt return of 96 yards, Curtis Conway, 1992 (Oregon).

    As a punishment for losing to the number 1 team in the nation, and no one else, California gets to play in the Holiday bowl in San Diego. Texas meanwhile, moves into the coveted BCS at large birth at the Rose Bowl to face Michigan. Their strength of schedule probably suffered from having beaten UCLA, which was now a technically worse team, and also Southern Mississippi, which also had its computer ranking lowered by the loss. Beating these opponents made Calís strength of schedule suffer. Who knew you could be done in by victories like that? For next year, the Golden Bears need to take a page from USCís 2004 plan. Start number one, beat everyone, and do not leave any doubt. In the meantime, Utah will pocket a hefty wad of cash as they say goodbye to their head coach and hello to obscurity again going forward.
      
    Posted on Monday, December 06, 2004 @ 14:01:40 UTC by BB
    "USC beats UCLA 29-24, Cal punished by BCS for beating Southern Mississippi" | Login/Create an Account | 0 comments
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