The collective attention of the college football nation will be focused on Southern California on Saturday.
USC figured to be the one trying to hold onto their national title hopes when Notre Dame came to the Rose Bowl. They expected Lee Corso to be stabbing mid-field and vanquishing Irish with the Sword of Troy like the relentless Trojan pass rush. USC expected to play for entrance into the national title game.
But after a disappointing loss to Stanford which held the Trojans scoreless in the second half, a shootout loss to Oregon at home, and the most disappointing loss to UCLA and new coach Jim Mora–which knocked out Matt Barkley not just from Heisman contention, but the game and this Saturday’s game as well– the Trojans are playing to deny entrance to the national title game.
And if that main course doesn’t satiate your college football appetite on Thanksgiving weekend, the side dish of Stanford vs UCLA at the Rose Bowl is plenty appetizing. The Bruins and Cardinal will almost wholly decide who will appear in the second edition of the Pac-12 Championship game.
All eyes are normally on LA for star watch, celebrity sightings, movie premieres. The clamor over the Twilight movie can stop for one Saturday though. No vampires in LA, the Stanford D is scary enough already. There is no on-and-off again love story between the Irish and Trojans–thats a bad blooded affair that’s been on for the last 84 years. There are no boys surviving TIgers and shipwrecks out at sea, although Matt Barkley probably can identify with the feeling now that his draft stock has free-fallen, and there is nothing he can do about it on senior day.
All eyes will be on the likely 80 degree weather in LA to decide the college football season.
One week ago the SEC was really on the outside looking in, but this week they are more than just scoreboard watching the results from the LA Coliseum. They need help from USC. And up in Eugene, Phil Knight riding a helicopter to Crovallis raining down money on the Oregon campus like he was made of it and all the Duck supporters will be rooting for Jim Mora to make it 7 wins in a row. Provided they take care of their business after the noon kickoff, the Ducks will watch just like any out of shape, middle aged man on a couch.
Is it more unlikely that Notre Dame is still undefeated, USC has tanked, or UCLAs season has far surpassed any expectations? The likes of Rick Neuheisel and Karl Dorell are unlikely to admit any embarrassment about the success Jim Mora has had in Westwood already, but are sure to boast of the great foundation they laid for the Bruins 9-2 season with 3 games to play.
Who actually thought that Notre Dame was going to be looking down at the rest of the college football nation like Touchdown Jesus? Notre Dame can pass judgment on the rest of the nation, but its pretty clear that USC can deliver the last judgement in each team’s last game of the regular season.
What further proof does there need to be that LA is the epicenter of college football Saturday than ESPN’s College GameDay is at the Coliseum. The GameDay crew is terrified that they won’t have anyone show up for their broadcast at 7am PST. Herbstreet and co. could be concerned that its way early in the morning, or USC’s run-ins with interceptions and losing left a fan base lifeless, or terrified of those facts combined with LA fans already notorious show up in the 3rd inning attitude. It’s a USC home game, but GameDay is more likely to be filled with Notre Dame and even UCLA fans showing up to support their more successful teams on national television.
Regardless if there are any bodies on camera at 7am, the eyes of the college football nation will be on that warm California sun, and the 4 teams with the most at stake to decide the national college landscape Saturday.