Oregon is USC’s title game, and other Week 9 college football picks

Oct 16, 2010; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans quarterback Matt Barkley (7) conducts teh band after the game against the California Golden Bears at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. USC defeated California 48-14. Photo via Newscom

With the prospect of a bowl game or a Pac-10 championship taken away from it before the season even began, USC’s football program has had to look elsewhere for motivation.

After a lackluster showing in early-season matchups against Hawaii, Virginia and Minnesota, and a loss at home to Washington, many wondered if the Trojans really even cared. A last-second loss at Stanford and a blowout of California, however, has shown that not only do the Trojans care, but they’re still a pretty darn good football team.

There was attrition at the school this offseason when the NCAA instituted a two-year bowl ban and a reduction in scholarships, but it’s still USC. It’s still the same team that has been bringing in top five recruiting classes year after year, and putting more five stars on the bench than many teams have seeing the field.

So now nobody’s thinking of the Trojans, as they cannot be a part of the title discussion themselves. They can severely alter the landscape today, though, and I’d imagine they’ll be real excited to try and take advantage of that opportunity. Read the rest of this entry »

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Pundits better start paying attention to Florida again

Florida GatorsOle’ Miss beat Florida on its home turf this year. So what? Clearly the Gators are over it and their 63-5 trouncing of Kentucky on Saturday went a long way in proving that.

The BCS standings say that UF is the 10th best team in the nation, but nobody should buy that. On neutral ground, the Gators beat half the teams ranked ahead of them (I’ll leave it up to you to determine which of those teams you think they’re better than) in the polls, and in Gainesville they probably defeat most of the teams ranked ahead of them.

This thought process isn’t based solely on what they did to Kentucky on Saturday either. The Wildcats didn’t stand much of a chance going into the game, although their defense has shown improvement this year. No, this is based on the fact that the Gators still own some of the best talent in the country and are one of the few programs that can say they have a complete football team. Their loss to Ole’ Miss was an aberration and obviously the defeat not only has motivated them, but also has re-focused them as well.

It’s hard to fathom Texas and/or Alabama losing this season, but it’s even harder to believe that the BCS Championship won’t feature two one-loss teams with how crazy the season has been this year. That said, there’s no reason to think the Gators can’t run the table with the way they’ve handled LSU and Kentucky the past two weeks. Therefore, Florida’s a program that pundits should start paying attention to again as true title contenders.

Ole’ Miss shocks No. 4 Florida 31-30

Jevon SneadIt’s officially upset week in college football. After No. 1 USC fell 27-21 to Oregon State Thursday night, another top 5 team was defeated on Saturday when Mississippi knocked off No. 4 Florida 31-30.

After Florida RB Percy Harvin scored on a 15-yard touchdown run with just over three minutes remaining in the game to cut the Rebels’ lead to 31-30, Gators’ K Jonathan Phillips had an extra point blocked. Florida’s defense forced a punt, but Tim Tebow was stopped on 4th and 1 sneak attempt from the Ole Miss 32-yard line less than two minutes left to play, which allowed the Rebels to run the clock out after the change of possession.

QB Jevan Snead threw two touchdown passes and ran for another score to lead Ole Miss. Junior WR Shay Hodge also hauled in three passes for 133 yards and a touchdown.

After USC lost on Thursday night, several pundits felt that Florida was the best team in the nation and would compete for a title. But this game proves how tough it is to come out of the SEC. Mississippi isn’t even one of the conference’s best, but as they proved Saturday, no team in the SEC is a pushover. To upset the No. 4 team in the nation is impressive. But to go into Gainesville and knock off the No. 4 team in the nation is unbelievable, especially considering Florida arguably has the best player in the nation in Tebow.

Oregon State will just have to share the upset spotlight this week.

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