I've been on the USC bandwagon since September when I watched them dismantle my alma mater, the University of Hawaii. So at this point, it almost feels like I'm piling on with more Trojan talk.
But after USC's 28-14 Rose Bowl victory over Michigan, I have a message for Oklahoma and LSU.
Have fun guys – you might as well be playing for the Miss Congeniality Award.
USC's performance was most impressive on the defensive side of the ball. The Trojans held Wolverine tailback Chris Perry to only 85 yards rushing (yes, the same Chris Perry who gashed the vaunted Ohio State defense for 154 yards) and relentlessly slammed quarterback John Navarre on his back all afternoon.
It was the Joy of Sacks in Pasadena. Navarre was dropped nine times by the Trojans, astounding when you consider the Wolverines had allowed only 15 sacks for the entire season.
And for all of the loyal SEC and Big 12 fans, who think Pac-10 football is like Brian Boitano in shoulder pads, the Pac-10 went 4-2 this bowl season and would have been 5-1 if not for Minnesota's last-minute field goal to beat Oregon.
And now to my New Year's good wishes.
Happy New Year to Dennis Rodman. I just saw the promo featuring The Worm on a new edition of "Celebrity Mole." When your caller ID says that "Celebrity Mole" is calling, it's officially over.
Jim Fassel spent New Year's Eve at Pacific Bell Park, watching his son's Boston College team beat Colorado State in San Francisco. Fassel had the flu, but his health should be improving quickly.
The former New York Giants coach had four teams lined up for interviews – the Redskins (whose owner Dan Snyder, flew in to meet him), the Bears, Cardinals and Bills.
Happy New Year to Lovie Smith. The Rams defensive coordinator is one of those hot assistants who could soon get a head coaching job.
One question – how many grown men do you know named Lovie? Doesn't sound real intimidating. "Oh no – Lovie's coming and bringing his defense with him!" Every time I hear his name, I think Thurston Howell in Gilligan's Island, calling out for his wife: "Oh Lovie, where are you?"
There hasn't been much Lovie on display at the Oakland Raiders facility the past few weeks. Head coach Bill Callahan was figuratively thrown under the bus, with his players taking turns driving over him.
Coaching changes are a way of life in sports, but rarely do you see the kind of venom spewed by the silver and black. And it wasn't only Charles Woodson calling for Callahan's head. Lifelong Raiders player Tim Brown said Callahan coached like he wanted to get fired and quarterback Rich Gannon said the Raiders needed to torch practically their entire operation.
Why all the hostility? Seems like Callahan alienated just about everybody. If it wasn't with his play calling, it was his lack of communication and fining players for no good reason. Now, almost all agree – Callahan was in way over his head.
Happy New Year to Mike Vanderjagt. Last year after the Colts lost in the playoffs, the Indianapolis kicker went on Canadian TV and ripped Peyton Manning and his teammates for being too soft.
Manning responded that the comments were just those of "an idiot-kicker" and the widespread initial reaction was that the Colts should dump Vanderjagt. Cooler heads prevailed and Vanderjagt has now made an NFL record 41 consecutive field goals (and 125 straight PAT's).
The Colts' playoff hopes could very well come down to the foot of that idiot kicker.
- Lovie Smith
- Chris Perry
- The Trojans