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Trojans are the 1 but not the only

September 15, 2008|Chris Dufresne

Painting by the numbers, in broad strokes of red (Wisconsin), Charlie White (USC) and deep, dark, blue (UCLA).

1 -- USC's standing in the free world following Saturday's 35-3 drubbing of Ohio State. The Trojans have now outscored Virginia and Ohio State, 87-10, which should buy them important equity against upcoming action in the Pac-it-up 10, which went winless in four tries against the Mountain West Conference.

The surprise, perhaps, is USC's not being a unanimous No. 1 in either the Associated Press or USA Today coaches' polls.

Georgia received two first-place votes from the coaches, and Oklahoma and Florida got one vote each. The coaches reveal only their final ballots, so we're only guessing that Georgia's votes came from Bulldogs Coach Mark Richt and the Southeastern Conference coach who just lost to Georgia: Steve Spurrier of South Carolina.

We're also going to guess Washington Coach Tyrone Willingham voted Oklahoma No. 1 after losing, 55-14, to the Sooners, and that Urban Meyer (Florida coach) or Phil Fulmer (Tennessee coach facing Florida this week) put the Gators at No. 1.

2 -- Number of spots, from No. 10 to No. 8, Wisconsin rose in the coaches' poll after beating Fresno State, a testament to the fight Pat Hill's team put up.

3-2 -- Final score of Auburn over Mississippi State. Frankie Rodriguez pitched a scoreless ninth to earn the save.

0-4 -- "I never saw it coming," was Notre Dame Coach Charlie Weis' quote after getting plowed over on the sideline by Irish defensive end John Ryan, but it also could have served as the quote from four Pac-10 coaches who lost games to Mountain West schools.

Here's a thought: If USC is lost to the national title game this season, shouldn't the Rose Bowl seriously consider replacing the Trojans with an undefeated Mountain West champion instead of the No. 2 team from the Pac-10?

5 -- Points racked up by 2-0 Notre Dame in the "others receiving votes" category of the coaches' poll. It's not many, but it's a start.

7 -- Number of touchdown passes Brigham Young quarterback Max Hall threw against UCLA; also, the number of touchdown passes tossed in 2007 by Notre Dame's Jimmy Clausen.

8 -- Number of Heisman Trophy statues USC would own should quarterback Mark Sanchez win it this year.


--Aggregate score of UCLA's last two losses in the state of Utah.

3-9 -- Revised estimate of UCLA's record this year following the Debacle at Tabernacle. We originally thought 4-8, got raked over coals for it after the Tennessee stunner, but are now scrambling to find three more wins on the Bruins' schedule.

1929 -- The year that got play Saturday in games involving Pac-10 schools. UCLA's 59-0 loss to BYU was the school's worst defeat since a 76-0 loss to USC in 1929, while Oklahoma's 55-14 thrashing of Washington was the Huskies' worst home loss since a 48-0 loss to USC the same year.

14 -- Ohio State's ranking in Sunday's coaches' poll. The Buckeyes fell only nine spots -- didn't we say you couldn't kill these guys? The Buckeyes needed only three weeks last year to climb from No. 7 back to No. 1. They have almost three months left to get back to No. 2.

"We have to roll up our sleeves and go back to work," Ohio State Coach Jim Tressel said after Saturday's loss.

16 -- Arizona State's preseason ranking in the coaches' poll back in August, and roughly the number of coaches this week who had a voting clue.

Let's see if we understand this: No. 21 Fresno State lost a three-point thriller at home to No. 10 Wisconsin and dropped out of the coaches' poll, yet Arizona State stayed in at No. 24 after a home loss to unranked Nevada Las Vegas?

Fortunately, lights were on at AP headquarters as writers kept Fresno State at No. 25 and dropped Arizona State out.

Arizona State's loss, a week before its big showcase game against Georgia in Tempe, epitomizes the team's history of failing to meet expectations.

Since joining the Pac-10 in 1978, Arizona State has been ranked in the preseason top 15 three times and finished unranked in two of those years.

"I didn't have them ready and I'll take the blame," Coach Dennis Erickson said after the three-point overtime loss.

Now, with the pressure off, it wouldn't be a shock if Arizona State pulled off the upset against Georgia next week.

358 -- The number of miles Georgia has traveled for nonconference games since 1998. It makes this week's Tempe trip a rare treat and exposes the Bulldogs to an unfamiliar environment. The last time Georgia played a regular-season road game against a Pac-10 team was in 1960 at USC.

2015 -- Possible revised retirement year for 79-year-old Florida State Coach Bobby Bowden if the NCAA makes the school forfeit any of its seven wins last year as punishment for the academic scandal involving the athletic department.

Game forfeitures would put Bowden behind Penn State Coach Joe Paterno in the ongoing battle for major college victories. Bowden and Paterno are tied at 375 after each posted a victory on Saturday.

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