Saturday, December 02, 2006

Like I needed another reason to hate USC . . .

It was really quite simple.

All USC had to do was beat unranked cross-city rival UCLA and the ONEPETE Trojans would have been headed to their much-coveted national championship game. Meanwhile, the LSU Tigers would have been on their way to SoCal for a first-ever appearance at the legendary Rose Bowl on New Year's Day and a chance to play for the runner-up position.

Calling a Rose Bowl matchup with Michigan one of the biggest game in LSU's long and illustrious football history is no overstatement. It would have been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to face off against one of the greatest football programs in the country in one of football's most acclaimed venues.

It's a stage that outshines even the Sugar Bowl in the Superdome, where LSU won the 2003 national championship by beating Oklahoma. The game would have paid a fortune in exposure, respectability and cold cash.

Tiger fans were so hungry for the Rose Bowl matchup that they pre-bought more than 43,000 tickets as of Friday, or enough to fill more than half of the stadium's 91,000 seats.

Then there's the personal element for me. I'm seven months into being a Southern Californian and wanted nothing more than to see my beloved Tigers play just a couple of hours up the interstate.

The stage was set Saturday for all of this to happen. All USC had to do was win.

But no. Those overrated Trojans couldn't manage to pull it off. Instead, they delivered yet another letdown to dynasty-starved Coach Pete Carrol.

Now we all wait while the humans and computers decide on Sunday whether LSU remains Rose Bowl bound or heads instead to the Sugar or Orange bowls.

Regardless of the outcome, USC's lastest debacle just adds fuel to a fire that has been building among Tiger fans ever since attempts by Carrol and the Trojan Nation to eliminate from the history books LSU's BCS national championship in 2003 and replace it with their Associated Press national championship of that same year.

This rivalry just keeps getting hotter.


Anonymous said...

I can't see an LSU-Wake forest Orange Bowl match up-- just doesn't seem like football. Here's waiting to find out who goes where later tonight...

John H. said...

I know, I know. As disappointed as I am, I can only imagine how you must feel, being so far from home and having an opportunity to go to the Rose Bowl if LSU were to make it.

As for your growing hatred of USC, I'm proud of you. My Trojan hatred began in 1979 when they were #1, we were unranked, and "questionable" officiating gave them a come-from-behind 17-12 win on a frenzied Saturday night in Tiger Stadium.

After that game, I locked myself in the bathroom and sobbed for over an hour. That night over a quarter-century ago still haunts me. Feed your Trojan hatred, Keith, it will keep you warm on chilly San Diego evenings.

Now, there is one thing you said that I have to disagree with. A Rose Bowl matchup with Michigan, while huge, would NOT have been the biggest game in our history. What is the ultimate goal in college football? Winning the national championship. Thus, the game that gets you the national championship is the biggest game possible. As a game with Michigan in the Rose Bowl -- as huge and as neat as it would have been -- would NOT have been for the national championship, it would not have been as big as the 2004 Sugar Bowl.

Think about it this way. At the start of a football season, which would you prefer, LSU winning the national championship or LSU NOT winning the national championship, but playing a great team it had never played before in the Rose Bowl? I would take the national championship every time.