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Bowl scenarios still up in air

December 01, 2008|Gary Klein | Klein is a Times staff writer.

USC's longshot hopes for a Bowl Championship Series title game berth ended on Saturday when Alabama and Oklahoma won their final regular-season games.

Someone apparently forgot to tell Coach Pete Carroll.

"I don't know the scenarios, but it ain't over yet," Carroll said Sunday night.

Carroll was right on one front: The fifth-ranked Trojans' bowl destination is still to be determined.

USC (10-1) appears headed toward a Rose Bowl matchup against Penn State, but UCLA could send the Trojans to the Holiday Bowl if the Bruins pull off an upset Saturday.

Meanwhile, Carroll couldn't resist taking another shot at a system that moved Oklahoma (11-1) ahead of Texas (11-1) in the BCS standings.

Texas defeated Oklahoma, 45-35, on Oct. 11. "That doesn't make any sense at all," Carroll said. "That's wrong in my book."

Carroll begins a new chapter in his USC tenure as he prepares for his first game against former offensive coordinator Norm Chow, who left USC after the 2004 season to join the Tennessee Titans staff.

Carroll downplayed whether the parting was amicable, saying Chow had "proven to be one of the all-time coaches in college football."

"It's always fun for me to go against people we worked with," Carroll said.

UCLA is coming off a 34-9 loss to Arizona State. The Bruins' offense ranks 110th out of 119 bowl subdivision teams, averaging 294.7 yards a game. UCLA is 107th in scoring at 18.6 points a game.

USC, meanwhile, used a 38-3 victory over Notre Dame to climb to No. 1 in total defense (210.5 yards a game). It also maintained the top spot in scoring defense (7.8 points).

UCLA's defense, under the direction of former Trojans assistant DeWayne Walker, is 35th nationally, giving up 324.6 yards a game.

"We really respect what they can do," Carroll said. "They've worked really hard to fit their personnel."

Frequent visitor

Former USC running back LenDale White was at the Coliseum for the Trojans' victory over Notre Dame, the third time this season the Tennessee Titans player watched the Trojans in person.

"We should have blown them out by more," he said. "I hate them over there and I hate UCLA, so what we didn't do to them this week, we've got to do to UCLA next week."

Quick kicks

Right tackle Nick Howell suffered a high ankle sprain and fullback Stanley Havili suffered a mild ankle sprain against Notre Dame. . . . Carroll has advocated working through rules that would allow the Trojans and Bruins to wear home jerseys during their annual matchup. But when asked whether that would be the case Saturday, he said, "It has not been topical."


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