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Kirk Herbstreit on USC, Louisville, and the SEC vs Big 10

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  • Kirk Herbstreit on USC, Louisville, and the SEC vs Big 10


    USC Has Become Must See TV

    The new fall television lineup has begun and Hollywood has a guaranteed hit on its hands: USC Trojans football, assuming you can find them on your dial.

    I hope things are going well in Nashville for the Tennessee Titans, because with all due respect to offensive coordinator Norm Chow, life is going along just fine for Matt Leinart and company. Pete Carroll's team's ability to score at will has become unfair to the rest college football. The first-team offense is averaging 11.4 yards per play and has barely allowed their punter to take the field. (USC has punted twice in two games. Both were in the fourth quarter, long after the starting offense was on the sidelines.) This offense will go down as one of the best in the history of college football.

    That said, the Trojans need to be concerned because of the play of their defense. Not only did USC come into 2005 having lost its top four defensive players to the NFL, but now because of injuries, the Trojans have players with very little experience at key positions. Linebacker Dallas Sartz won't play Saturday against Oregon and cornerback Terrell Thomas is out for the season with a knee injury. The defense will give up a lot of yards and points, but USC will go undefeated because no one will be able to stop that offense.

    I know it is hard sometimes to find USC on TV, so don't wait until the nationally televised game at Notre Dame to see the Trojans. It'll be worth your time and effort to find a place to watch this offense play. If you are a college football fan, please don't shortchange yourself. The Trojans are must see TV.

    SEC vs Big Ten
    The SEC is off to a great start with four teams ranked in the top 10. Don't forget about Auburn, and Vanderbilt has been a pleasant surprise. Then there is Alabama. For two years I have been really impressed with the Crimson Tide, but always put an asterisk next to them. Scholarship reductions and probation has affected their depth. This also is a team that cannot afford any injuries. If quarterback Brodie Croyle had stayed healthy last year, Alabama would have given Auburn everything it could handle in the SEC West. Mike Shula's Crimson Tide is the team to beat, not only in the SEC West but the SEC -- as long as Croyle doesn't get hurt again.

    With that said, I still like the Big Ten overall. I know there was a knee-jerk reaction when the big three (Iowa, Michigan and Ohio State) all lost on Sept. 10, but you can't evaluate a season by what happened in one weekend. Right now you have to give the nod to the SEC, but if you are to look at the overall depth, the Big Ten is the best conference.

    A Look At The Big 10
    There hasn't been a more interesting opening weekend of conference play in the Big Ten than this Saturday:
    • No. 21 Iowa at No. 8 Ohio State -- Both teams felt they were going to win the conference and that 11-0 was realistic. After Saturday, one of these teams will enter October with two losses and in need of some serious soul searching.

    • No. 11 Purdue at Minnesota -- Both teams are unbeaten and thinking about making a run at a Big Ten championship. Minnesota has the best running game in the country (335 yards per game), while the Boilermakers have the best run defense in Division I-A (allowing 18.0 rushing yards per game)

    • No. 14 Michigan at Wisconsin -- Wisconsin has a great running back in Brian Calhoun and an experienced quarterback in John Stocco. The Badgers -- who were an afterthought in the conference at the start of the season -- always compete when they are at home against Michigan.

    • No. 17 Michigan State at Illinois -- The Spartans are ranked but better not be looking past an improved Illinois team.

    • Penn State at Northwestern -- We'll find out if Penn State is legitimate, because the Nittany Lions' game at Northwestern is one that in the past few years they have struggled to win.

    Is Florida State for real?
    Florida State should be 8-0 heading into November, but I don't think the Seminoles are a legitimate national title contender until they develop more of an offense. FSU is a team with great athletic ability and its front seven is one of the best in the nation. But with cornerback Antonio Cromartie out for the season, their secondary is vulnerable against a good team.

    Right now their offense has no identity. Coach Bobby Bowden is trying to break in young quarterback Drew Weatherford and you have to believe he will continue to get better. Still, the Seminoles' only play is to throw it up to one of their tall wide receivers (Fred Rouse or Greg Carr) or dump it underneath to one of their running backs. That's their offense. Against a really athletic defense, I question Florida State's ability to run the ball.

    The good news is, despite playing in the new ACC, the Seminoles have Miami behind them and won't be challenged until their final two games of the season -- road games at Clemson and Florida. Only then will we find out how much Weatherford has grown up and whether this offense has developed an identity.

    Louisville Will Be This Year's Auburn
    Louisville will go 11-0, quarterback Brian Brohm will be invited to the Heisman Trophy ceremony, but at the end of the day, the Cardinals' Big East affiliation will cost them a shot at the national title. And as much as I like Louisville, a one-loss team from the Big Ten or SEC probably deserves an opportunity to play in the national championship game more than an undefeated Louisville.

    Unless the Cardinals get a home-and-home with some of the heavyweights, teams will not want to schedule them because they are too good. Unfortunately, that is the only chance Louisville has to make it to a national championship game down the road, especially playing in the Big East.

    Despite Louisville's effort to beef up its nonconference schedule with Kentucky, Oregon State and North Carolina, the Big East is so bad that it will weigh the Cardinals down dramatically in the computers' strength of schedule category.

    I said it when the conference was formed and I will say it again: The Big East has become, by far, the best college basketball conference in the country. Unfortunately in football, the Big East takes a back seat to the six other BCS conferences and no longer deserves an automatic bid; however, the conference is guaranteed to have a team in a BCS game through 2007. [/b][/quote]
    You're being fucking dramatic. You own a TV and an air mattress. That's not exactly what I'd call "a lot to lose."

  • #2
    Since when did Herbstreit become an authority on basketball conferences?

    Louisville "beefed up" its schedule with Kentucy, Oregon State and UNC? Just think how much better it would have looked with UL-Monroe on the schedule.

    He's right about the Big 10's depth versus the SEC. He's wrong to cede the SEC West title to Alabama.
    June 9, 1973 - The day athletic perfection was defined.