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Dr. Saturday

Thanks for playing, USC

Graham Watson
Dr. Saturday

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(USA Today Sports Images)

Good job, good effort USC.

That’s about you can say after watching USC’s uninspired effort against Georgia Tech in the Sun Belt. The underdog Yellow Jackets won 21-7 and the game wasn’t even that close.

But what did we expect from a team that was bashing El Paso from the moment bowl matchups were announced and then kept disrespecting Georgia Tech and the good people of El Paso with further tweets and a late appearance to a team dinner? USC never wanted to be in this bowl game and that attitude showed up on the field.

What’s disappointing is that this was USC’s first bowl game since 2009 and it should have been happy to just be in the postseason. Yes, this team was the preseason AP No. 1 and it was picked to play in the national championship, but USC made its own bed. If it wanted to be in a better destination, it shouldn’t have lost five games. The coaching staff should have motivated and led the team better.

So, while USC played like the bowl was a waste of its time, there were several deserving teams sitting at home wishing they had gotten a chance at an extra month of practice and an opportunity to end the season on a high note.

USC, and its fans, can’t feel good about the direction of this team. Quarterback Max Wittek, who many were hoping would be the heir apparent to Matt Barkley, was playing with half the playbook and looked uncomfortable with even the most basic of plays. And coach Lane Kiffin never let him air the ball out, which took away the Trojans best two weapons – receivers Marqise Lee and Robert Woods.

So where does USC go from here?

After one of the most anticipated and subsequently most disappointing seasons in school history this team needs to spend the offseason rediscovering its motivation. Barkley is gone as is Woods, who announced after the bowl game that he was going pro. The offense does still have running back Silas Redd and Lee, but the offensive line will need to be retooled. USC is also working with a new defensive coordinator after Monte Kiffin stepped down after an awful campaign.

As for Georgia Tech, they took the Trojans’ lackluster attitude and used it against them. Even though there was a huge mismatch in talent, Georgia Tech wanted to be there and it wanted the win. The Yellow Jackets hadn’t won a bowl game in seven previous tries. So, the motivation for the seniors was clear and they took advantage.

Let this be a lesson, never stand Paul Johnson up for dinner.

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