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As USC gets it in gear, yes, title-game talk is possible

Chris Dufresne takes time out (he gets three per half) each Friday during the season to answer questions on college football. This week's topics include the Trojans, the Beavs, and a burning question about West Virginia-Baylor.

October 06, 2012|Chris Dufresne

And what I was foam-finger pointing out about USC was a path for the Trojans to get back in the title-game conversation following the horrific seven-point defeat at top-20 Stanford.

The fine folks at Mailbag, including dozens of technicians, fact-checkers, rewrite men, makeup artists and gaffers, prefer to look at the positive.

USC certainly has the talent and schedule strength to climb back into contention, although it didn't look good when the Trojans were down, 14-0, early against Utah.

The Trojans played a sloppy, mistake-filled game in Salt Lake City, but still showed the resilience and fortitude to rally back from the abyss.

I see through my myopic kaleidoscope USC getting better as the year goes on, which is what happened last year on the way to 10 wins. The Trojans right now remind me of a Lamborghini running on peanut butter oil, sputtering between gear shifts.

Q: Oregon State is No. 1 in two BCS computer polls (Colley & Massey), Notre Dame No. 2. As if the BCS system wasn't already a joke.

@ReisNielsen

A: Breaking news since you fired off that tweet of indignation about Beaver Nation: Oregon State is now No. 1 in three of the six BCS computers. Anderson-Hester has also checked in with Corvallis on top.

Mike Riley is going to go broke buying In-N-Out burgers.

The stock answer for these early-season poll anomalies is that rankings really don't mean anything until mid-October.

But guess what? It's almost mid-October. It's not that early. The first BCS standings will be released a week from Sunday.

I love what Oregon State has already done this season and say the rankings are justified in the sense the Beavers are undefeated with a huge home win over then-ranked Wisconsin and a big road win at still-ranked UCLA.

Oregon State followed up with another win at improved Arizona. It's not the Beavers' fault they weren't ranked going into the season.

Oregon State's BCS computer numbers should continue to dazzle if the Beavers keep winning, but the problem is going to be the polls. Oregon State is still only No. 14 in the USA Today index, with the first Harris poll yet to be released.

That puts Oregon State at No. 12 in the latest simulated standings produced by BCS Guru.

Notre Dame's computer ranking also will take care of itself. If the Irish keep winning they will deserve every bit of No. 2. Notre Dame should get a real test from Miami at Chicago's Soldier Field on Saturday and also has remaining games against Stanford, Oklahoma and USC.

As if the BCS wasn't already a joke?

Hey, it's had us in stitches since 1998.

Q: Your article last week ended with a reference to burning "coaches." …Believe you meant that reference as the tradition to burn "couches." We attended the game with our son and it appears neither happened, although the Baylor coach might feel otherwise.

Kathleen Enright-Reicht

A: Very funny, (West) Virginia. And I must say you were the one and only person to catch the typo I had in last week's Rankman comments on the Mountaineers. Yes, I was referring to couches, not coaches, and I am heartened to hear neither was burned last week in West Virginia's 70-63 win over Baylor.

You could say, without any need for correction, that both defenses definitely got torched.

And while West Virginia has never had a history of burning "coaches," you guys had no problem hanging Bobby Bowden in effigy back in the 1970s. He then left for Florida State and turned out to be a pretty good coach, according to his bio at the College Football Hall of Fame.

Q: I read your columns each week with bemusement, watching you mentally contort yourself trying to explain why LSU is really such a lousy team.

Roger Bowers

Whittier

A: Thanks and welcome to this week's contort report: Anyone with eyeballs who watched LSU play Towson last Saturday night knows there is something wrong with this team right now.

The Tigers might have more fault lines than Whittier.

LSU seemed uninterested in the Towson game, understandably, but that forced Les Miles to play starters deep into a game that should have been finished by walk-ons from Ponchatoula.

That performance came a week after LSU won at Auburn, 12-10.

I am thoroughly bemused that USA Today voting coaches, who seem attached to LSU like a boy to his puppy, refused to drop the Tigers from their No. 3 spot.

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