One could make the argument (and the argument has been made) that USC is playing as well as anyone right now, but in college football that's irrelevant. There was no shame in losing to Oregon on the road--back when Oregon was number two, half the Trojan starters were in the hospital, and Dennis Dixon was sprinting toward New York and the Heisman Trophy--but losing to Stanford was just inexcusable, a breakdown in playing, coaching and good judgment all at once. (Someone explain to me again why Booty was out there to throw four second-half interceptions with a broken thumb, with a perfectly competent back-up in Mark Sanchez standing on the sidelines? Oh, right: Drew Bledsoe had once won a Patriots' game with a broken finger while Pete Carroll was head coach. Nice to know Carroll can, from time to time, draw on his fantastic success in the NFL.)
Anyway, and this goes back to 2003 and continues to this day: it is hard to feel bad when your team is headed to the Rose Bowl.
Of greater concern is the screw job put on Arizona State, who lost two games (to Oregon-with-Dixon and the everybody's-back-and-healthy Trojans), and for whom the Kansas Jayhawks would be thin gruel.
In the hours before Fox's selection show (which show was lousy, by the way: where was the interview with Pete Carroll with the requisite spray of roses in the background?), the only real question had come down to the Fiesta, ASU v. Kansas. I posted this comment on The Irish Trojan:
I was home in the Valley over Thanksgiving, and all I heard was that the Fiesta Bowl committee presently has some sort of animus toward Arizona State, and that the powers of Phoenix and Glendale (remember, the game was moved across the Valley last year, from Tempe's Sun Devil Stadium to Glendale's University of Phoenix Stadium) were quietly (should last night's events take place) urging the committee to choose an out-of-town team, in order to boost hotel and restaurant dollars.
If the first part of the above is true, it's nuts, as the whole reason the Fiesta Bowl was created back in the day was to give Arizona State some national attention. (The Devils played in five of the first seven Fiesta Bowls, winning four.) No ASU, no Fiesta Bowl.
If the second part is true, it's a shame, for one would think that civic pride would prevail.
I don't know how true any of this is true. But I'll be keeping it in mind this evening.
And then came the announcement.
Well, Kansas has one loss. And the entire non-Manhattan state of Kansas will point their Winnebagoes and tractors Phoenix- and Glendale-ward on Christmas week, and fill the greater coffers of Phoenix and Glendale buyin' sparkly things and all them talkin' picture boxes.
Was Arizona State the victim of a travelism? Maybe.
Was the animus toward ASU part of the equation? Maybe.
What is undeniable is that, when it comes to the Pac-10, the BCS always seems one slot short.
Courtesy the Irish Trojan, a more conspiratorial take here.