BEST TITLE GAME
USC vs. Texas
If and when USC meets Texas in the Rose Bowl, the game will feature the Heisman winner and at least two other Heisman finalists in USC quarterback Matt Leinart, running back Reggie Bush and Texas quarterback Vince Young. It will include a USC team on a 34-game winning streak and a Texas team on a 19-game winning streak. And there will be no other bowl game of national consequence. Top that.
Rebuttal: The matchup is great, but it still has to match Ohio State's overtime victory over Miami in the Fiesta Bowl from three years ago in terms of drama.
Oct. 15, 2005
If you had only one Saturday in a lifetime to sit in front of the television from noon until midnight with a remote control in one hand, this was it. The Penn State-Michigan game ruined Joe Paterno's perfect season on the final play. Minnesota and Wisconsin engaged in a truly bizarre affair that was decided on a blocked punt recovered in the end zone for the game-winning score. How about West Virginia's triple-overtime victory against Louisville? Oh, yeah, Notre Dame and USC played a fairly memorable game, as well.
Rebuttal: None. Those fortunate enough to attend Penn State-Michigan unfortunately couldn't watch USC-Notre Dame live.
Did you see Bush's 65-yard run, above, against Fresno State? It was great. Did you see Bush's 45-yard touchdown run later against the Bulldogs? It was better. Did you see Bush's 50-yard touchdown scamper, during which he made a gravity-defying, stop-and-go move and shifted the ball behind his back? It was incomparable. Bush had 513 all-purpose yards, more than a quarter mile.
Rebuttal: Didn't San Diego State's Marshall Faulk run for, like, 1,000 yards in three games against Hawaii? When Bush is on, he's electric. But he doesn't break a big run every game and is surrounded by loads of talent.
This is the age of limited scholarships and increased parity. It is harder than ever to stay at the top. Yet USC has not lost in more than two years. The Trojans have won 33 straight and 44 of their last 45 games. Running back LenDale White, who plays second fiddle to Bush, has 47 career rushing touchdowns and 51 overall touchdowns. He is closing in on Charles White's school rushing touchdowns record (49) and overall touchdowns record (53).
Rebuttal: USC plays a suspect Pac-10 schedule each season and has a defense as soft as the sand on Laguna Beach.
USC at Notre Dame
Someone, somewhere has a photo of the scoreboard in Notre Dame Stadium showing no time left and Notre Dame ahead. Well, the Fighting Irish lost the game. There were leprechauns and limousines, the green jerseys, the "Bush Push," the fourth-and-nine audible at the line, the fumble and the near perfect game plan by Irish Coach Charlie Weis. USC-Notre Dame was built up by a ridiculous amount of hype. The game exceeded it by a mile.
Rebuttal: A national title was not explicitly on the line, and Fresno State's ability to play with the Trojans diminished Notre Dame's accomplishment.
Get a load of Pat Hill, Fresno State's coach. He wears the same sweat-stained hat all season and has the score of each of the season's games under the brim. He will play anyone; he'd schedule the Oakland Raiders on a street corner if NCAA rules allowed. Fresno State wanted USC for ages. It finally got the Trojans at Los Angeles Coliseum and held an 11-point lead before falling, 50-42. There is no non-BCS school the big-time schools avoid more.
Rebuttal: Wasn't it Utah, not Fresno State, that went undefeated last season to become the first school from a non-power conference to make the BCS?