- The Washington Times - Monday, September 19, 2005

The Back Judge would like to take this moment to grovel slavishly at the feet of the leviathan otherwise known as USC. College football is truly not worthy.

What the Trojans did to Arkansas on Saturday night truly boggles the mind. Razorbacks coach Houston Nutt should go looking for a new sobriquet after watching USC completely strip his team of its manhood at the L.A. Coliseum. People who didn’t even watch the game woke up in Fayetteville yesterday feeling horrible. Yes, it was that ugly.

En route to a 70-17 boot-heeling of the ‘Hogs, USC rolled up 736 yards of total offense. In a first quarter that saw them bolt to a 28-7 lead, the top-ranked Trojans (2-0) averaged 30.75 yards a play, using just 1:32 and eight plays to record four scores and 246 yards of offense. There aren’t a handful of other teams in the nation that could manage such efficiency against air, much less against a team rumored to be from the SEC.

Anyone who thought the Trojans might lose this season needs to re-evaluate or book a rubber room, because USC looks like it might not lose even a quarter on its sprint to a record three-peat. Next week undefeated Oregon is the opponent. Sit back and enjoy the show.

Game balls and gassers

USC gets all the game balls but one, which goes to Michigan State for its continued dominion of Notre Dame. The Spartans survived a late collapse to drop the 10th-ranked Irish 44-41 in overtime for their fifth consecutive victory in South Bend. Rumor has it John L. Smith will be putting Touchdown Jesus up for auction on EBay tomorrow.

You might be asking why Florida’s Urban Meyer doesn’t get a game ball for his first SEC victory, a 16-7 win over No.5 Tennessee at the Swamp. Well, supposed offensive gurus who run quarterback sneaks on fourth-and-1 and whose offenses can’t crack the 250-yard barrier don’t merit game balls.

Somewhere between Salt Lake City and Gainesville, Meyer fell in love with the fullback dive and forgot how to spell innovation. His spread option looked more like basketball’s old four corners against the Vols. You, sir, are no Steve Spurrier.

Tennessee’s Phil Fulmer, however, does merit several gassers for his team’s effort. The Vols’ special teams performance wasn’t worthy of a Pee Wee squad, much less a top-10 team. After a brief pause, it looks like this series will return to its pre-Zook status quo as Tennessee’s Great Pumpkin and his Vols find ways to lose.

For the second time in three weeks, Oklahoma gets a gasser for being blown out by UCLA 41-24. It’s hard to imagine that a team that made consecutive trips to the BCS title game is 1-2 with ugly losses to unranked also-rans from TCU and UCLA and a comeback victory against Tulsa. Somebody get the Sooner Schooner a gurney.

If Mack Brown and No. 2 Texas lose next month’s version of the Red River Rivalry to OU, the Back Judge predicts his tenure at Texas will end right there at the Cotton Bowl with a pink slip at the postgame press conference.

Finally, we’d like to revoke Stanford’s Pac-10 charter and give the Cardinal a gasser in perpetuity for losing Saturday night to UC Davis 20-17. UC Davis — the noted jazz musician?

It turns out that UC Davis, which previously lost to powers New Hampshire and Portland State, is in the third season of a four-year transition between D-II and D-IAA. That means it’s about as talented as the night shift at your local McDonald’s. You can’t lose to teams like UC Davis if you’re under 50, possess at least three senses and are relatively sober. So it’s just a baby step short of scandalous that Walt Harris picks his home debut to celebrate the program’s first-ever loss to a non-D-I school.

What’s the early line on Stanford vs. USC on Nov.5? The Back Judge will take the Trojans and give triple digits.

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