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• Sideline: Yes, Non–Conference Games DO Count
• NCAA Preview 2009
• Sideline: Time For The Talking To Stop
• Sideline: In Memory of Air McNair
• Sideline: Will Goodell Hand Out Hard Time?
• Sideline: Marshall's Not Joshing
• NFL Draft: No Rush To Judgment
• NFL Draft Analysis 2009 (Part 2)
• Sideline: NFL Draft Thoughts (Part 2)
• Sideline: NFL Draft Thoughts
• Sideline: Will Play For Food
• Sideline: Wonderlic Scores
• Sideline: Manning and Sanchez
• Sideline: 2010 Leagues Sci–fi, or Fantasy? / March Madness
• Sideline: Break Out The Brackets
• Sideline: LaDainian Tomlinson On The Record
• Sideline: The Incredible Sulk Continues
• Sideline: Guildford Heat Fired Up
• Sideline: Super Bowl thoughts from the Valley of the Sun
• Sideline: I know I came in here for something
• Sideline: College Football National Signing Day
• Sideline: 27 Points — 27 Super Bowl thoughts
• Sideline: An Epic QB Matchup?
• Sideline: Appreciating Arizona for What They Were
• Sideline: NFL Divisional Weekend Preview
• Sideline: Bowl Season Hangover
• Sideline: Six weeks Later
• Sideline: Wildcard Weekend Preview
• Sideline: Santa's Sackings
• Sideline: A Weis Decision ...for Now
• Sideline: Eye on the Ticker
• Sideline: Lions — An Anagram of Losin
• Sideline: Ready for the Turkey
• Sideline: Making it to the Big Dance
• Sideline: Brighter Days Ahead for Chargers?
• Sideline: Unnecessary Hits To The Pocket / Upset: BYU
• Sideline: Romo's Pause / Seattle Seahawks
• Sideline: Weekend Prep: Red River and More
• Sideline: College Football's 'Crossroads' Weekend
• Sideline: Gramatical Error
• Sideline: Turning The Page
• Sideline: So Cal 'Quizzed
• Sideline: 3rd Tuesday Panic / Forté Yard Dash
• Sideline: Two and Oh; Oh and Two
• Sideline: No More NCAAffeine
• Sideline: Week 1 College Football
• Sideline: How To Spell Heisman / Chad Ocho Cinco
• Sideline: A Second Slice
• Sideline: The Favre story STILL won't go away
• Sideline: Olympic Notes / Ricky's Still Relevant
• Sideline: Committee Meetings
• Sideline: Let the QB Battles Begin
• Sideline: Slinging The Slinger — More Favre
• Interview: Clint Dempsey
• Sideline: Welcome to the 2008 season
• Sideline: Plus One
• 2008 NFL Draft Review
• Sideline: Draft: The Morning After
• Sideline: Draft: Thinking the Unthinkable
• Sideline: Draft: Ready For The Long Haul
• Sideline: Sofa–bound Sport
• Sideline: Post–Winter Wonderland
• Sideline: Six Impossible Things
• Sideline: Brady's Misdirection Play
• Sideline: Colorful Language
• Sideline: Let the Romo–bashing begin
• Sideline: Bowl Bites: The Wrap
• Sideline: All About The Coaches
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 3
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 2
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 1
• Sideline: Coach Situations Vacant
• Sideline: For Some, The Playoffs Are Now
• Sideline: A Certain Lack Of Welcome
• Sideline: Unrelated Notes
• Sideline: Two Thanksgiving thoughts
• Sideline: Halftime: NFC
• Sideline: Halftime: AFC
• Sideline: London / A Tale of Two Chads / Intimidation
• Sideline: Damp Squib / Other London Notes
• Sideline: Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em / Dolphins – The Aftermath
• Sideline: The Dolphins Did What?
• Sideline: Notes on the Defenses
• Sideline: Habits to be Broken
• Sideline: Overtime
• Sideline: This Week's Starters
• Sideline: USF: Covering The Spread / Fantastic Football
• Sideline: Grossman: The Final Act? / McNabb, the Epilogue
• Sideline: Eagles QB in Slight Controversy
• Sideline: Leftwich's Parting Gift / Boos cruise
• Sideline: Notre Dame M.I.A.
• Sideline: Looking Beyond NFL Wk. 1
• Sideline: Best Hope For Heisman
• Sideline: Coaching Hot Seats / AP Poll Feeling ’Appy
• Sideline: The NFL’s Prime Cuts
• Sideline: Michigan Falls to Killer Apps
• Sideline: Look Out Couch / The Taint's On You, Bud

Observations, Opinion & Occasional Silliness by Richard L Gale

So Cal 'Quizzed — But Who Will Answer?
September 26, 2008

And now the season really begins.

There's 26 unbeaten teams, but USC isn't one of them. In case you didn't stay up until 5.30am (ah, you lightweights), the mighty Trojans were humbled last night by unranked Oregon State, as diminutive Beavers back Jacquizz Rodgers danced a hobbity jig through the USC defense, turning QB Mark Sanchez into a sideline statue en route to a 21–0 halftime lead. The USC passer broke out in the second half, but just too late.

Back when the Trojans rolled Ohio State in an early season laugher, it seemed the Men of Troy might march unchallenged to a championship. Nobody expected much from their Pac–10 opposition, but last night USC tripped over an unranked conference foe for the third year running. Unlike when they lost to Stanford in 2007 or Oregon State in 2006, there just might be enough weeks left to overcome this latest setback. And boy, is it going to be fun watching them try (their next opponent, the Oregon Ducks, should be very afraid).

In the meantime, the allocation of first place votes should be interesting. USC held 62 of 65 first–place ballots in last week's AP Poll, and 56 of 61 in USA Today. With the exception of USC, who fell at Oregon State's Reser Stadium, the other contenders are all at home this week:

Oklahoma had zero No.1 votes in last week's polls, despite being the consensus No.2 team, but have an opportunity to grab the lion's share now. They play ranked TCU, who have been slapping lesser folk silly for four weeks (a combined score of 172–31). They last met in 2005, when the Horned Frogs upset the Sooners 17–10. This Oklahoma squad is a world better than '05, but nobody should be taking a Mountain West team for granted these days.

Georgia hosts Alabama. A win could push Georgia back towards the top slot they vacated after the first poll, but Nick Saban's Alabama are looking potent again. The Bulldogs better make sure black shirts don't become black armbands by Sunday morning — Alabama could use this game to catapult themselves into national contention instead.

In the SEC, LSU hosts Mississippi State, and is starting to remind people they're still the national champs, while Florida hosts Mississippi with more to lose than gain. Given the chance, do you suppose the Gators would run up the score? Silly question.

With voters reshuffling their board, Missouri picked a bad week to be idle.

The Heisman race needs similar re–assessment. It was shaping up to be a battle between Missouri QB Chase Daniel, Georgia RB Knowshon Moreno and Sanchez, had the winning continued. I never did like the idea that Sanchez was in the mix with such a short resumé. While Sanchez played a great second half, his fourth–quarter interception was a killer.

If the Sanchez bubble has now burst, a host of other names come into sharp focus — Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford, Michigan State RB Javon Ringer, BYU QB Max Hall and Texas QB Colt McCoy among them. Heisman attention must surely shift to the Big 12 now, where Bradford and McCoy might have been lagging behind Sanchez in the non–East Coast hype, Chase Daniel will continue atop the early Heisman projections, and Texas Tech have a couple of their own to offer in passer Graham Harrell and receiver Michael Crabtree.

Apparently, Chris Wells will suit up against Minnesota. Wow, how far off the radar is that, suddenly?


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