Bumped. Here is Rahim and co. bringing Christmas home early tonight. GO BRUINS. -N
Photo Credit: Telemachus
Ok, the day has arrived. The day some of us wait for all year long. For me, I almost feel like a 6-year old again on Xmas morning. Why? Because the thought of having the chance to beat these guys is upon us... and if we do, man, those bragging rights, that bell, that Bruin pride feels so good, so very fulfilling. That being said, as diehards, we should expect to win tonight and ultimately shouldn't be surprised if we pull it off. That's not just wishful thinking here, because this isn't the same TrOJan team of 2005 or 2006 which vied for the national championship both times.
Fact is, this is an OVERRATED $C team that's already lost three times (twice in abysmal fashion). The fact that this will be played at the Coliseum should simply be MORE of a motivator for our team. So, how/why can we beat the TrOJies??
- Their offense is not that much more dominant than ours. Our rookie QB (Kevin Prince) is arguably just as good as their rookie QB (Matt Barkley). Seriously. Everyone raves about Barkley, but the fact is he hasn't exactly lit it up this year. Carroll goes gaga over this kid, but there's a reason he desperately wanted Mark Sanchez to remain another year and was subsequently miffed when Sanchez turned pro (and like the great coach he is, he showed his frustration and anger toward his outgoing QB on live national TV). Petey knew Barkley would have to go through growing pains before he shined on the field... and he has, to some degree. But he has also yet to have a truly terrible game to the point where he's almost benched. The fact is he's due for a rude awakening, and hopefully our D will be ready to pounce on him often tonight. Prince, on the other hand, while a highly touted recruit two years ago, isn't talked about as much, but the fact is he has actually EXCEEDED expectations this season. He's arguably been our biggest surprise this year and who in Bruins Nation ISN'T excited for his future and the program's future with him under center the next three years? Prince has completed 57.6% of his passes and is closing in on two thousand yards. Barkley has completed 57.9% of his passes and is JUST over 2,000 yards. Barkley may have almost double the TD passes (11) than Prince (6), but he also has double the amount of INTs (10) while Prince has a mere five. Statistically, while SC has put up more points this year, their offense is not what it once was and is not all that dominant. They have only run for 250 or so more yards than us this year. Sure, their running game is solid, but it pales in comparison to the Bush-White years. Ours, is one JUST beginning to find itself behind a very young line, but given SC's solid O-line you think they'd be that much more dominant than us -- but the fact is they are not. My only concern is our O-line which will have to play its heart out against a tough TrOJan D-line, but IF all are on their A-game and play consistently, this game can be won. Man for man, play by play, and the game be won. Throw in the fact that $C WR Damien WhatsHisName is somewhat hurt, anything can happen. If I were a betting man, I likely would put more faith in Prince than I would in Barkley.
- Their defense is bruised. This is the first time in YEARS that a TrOJan team has been run over like this. Go back and look at the tape and you'll see Stanford and Oregon having their way with $C's defense. This is a much softer defense and we have every reason to exploit it and scare it. I have had two or three $C fans/alums tell me this week they are literally 'afraid' (their words not mine) about the Defense giving up more (points and yards) and not delivering a victory.
- Coach Neuheisel and Coach Chow are NOT Coach Dorrell. This duo, though seemingly more conservative the last couple years, in fact is NOT. These are proven experts in their fields (Chow we don't need to elaborate upon his creds, but CRN has been hired in various places because of his offensive acumen). In one of these games to come, both their knowledge of the game and their ability to teach will shine through... with our team JUST beginning to come together, don't be surprised if CRN and CNC bring an extra special playbook just for the occasion. Also, don't forget that Carroll (Cheaty Petey himself) hasn't won a BIG game in a long time (I don't count the Rose Bowl as a big game for SC, as the Big Ten hasn't exactly produced truly dominant teams in YEARS). When the pressure has mounted, esp. since Coach Chow left $C, Carroll has had a more difficult time winning the big ones. Again, I'd put my cash on Coach Rick and Coach Norm over the ever-overrated Petey Carroll.
- Terrence Austin is due for a big return or two. This is possibly his last game as a Bruin, so he should be primed for the longest return of his career. What better place and what better time than tonight! TA is a very talented player and I wouldn't be surprised if he were drafted for his KR skills. This is his last chance to truly show what he can do,in the biggest game of all. Go Terrence!! Go Bruins!
- We have more to play for. We simply have MORE to play for. We're going for win # 7 and if we accept a bowl invite, we'll be vying for #8. Who would have thought about such a scenario after losing our fifth straight game back on 31 October (less than a month ago)?? Few of us expected a bowl invite, let alone a six-win season. We are so close to exceeding that and doubling our victories from last season. We get it done on Saturday and Neuheisel already is ahead of the game -- way ahead -- much more than he or we ever expected upon ending the 2009 season. What does $C have to play for? Some lame unknown bowl game. This is a team that fancied itself an automatic BCS contender back in Sept. (they thought they'd easily trot to a Pac-10 title) but is now BARELY ranking in the top 25 nationally. What do they have to play for? Not much... they're already let down by what has transpired this season. What do we have to play for? The next step toward national championship aspirations next year or the year after.
- The more dominant team (on paper or on the schedule) doesn't always win. Look at the history of this rivalry -- the team with the lesser record always, always, puts up a fight (the 2005 team [66-19] being one of the few exceptions). They have a better record than us this year, and the pointspread already assumes certain things, but nothing can measure the heart and desire of a team. There are so many intangibles when it comes to this game. Within the last 20 years, I can think of four specific teams that were supposed to get WALLOPED by $C and the opposite happened. Think 1989, 1994, 1995, and who can forget 2006 (13-9!). I was a freshman in the Fall of '89 and I remember being excited for the game despite the pointspread and the pretty tame rally (no bonfire that year) before the big game. In fact the 'BEAT $C Rally' was held at Westwood Plaza, adjacent to the Bruin statue facing the Wooden Center. Few people showed up, Mike Lodish (D-line) who would go on to play in the NFL, did some funny dance (the cabbage patch?) the band was there and a smattering of other players... but there seemed to be to be a sense of resignation that we would play hard but that we shouldn't get our hopes too high. We won a mere three games in '89, under the leadership of another freshman QB (Bret Johnson). Final Score? 10-10 at the Coliseum. A game we should have won. SC played at the Rose Bowl that year, but couldn't beat us. The 1994 SC team had also pretty much clinched the Pac-10 title, but couldn't beat us. The 1995 UCLA team, led by a standout frosh QB by the name of Cade McNown, was pretty mediocre, but they went to Coliseum and led 21-0 early in the game and held on to win against an SC team that had already clinched a Rose Bowl berth. And of course there is the 13-9 victory at the Rose Bowl in 2006. SC was a BCS team that year, undefeated at the time. Our defense didn't let John Booty breathe that day. Watch the highlights on uTube. Watch the team celebrate in the locker room after that game. You'll feel the chill up your spine. They did it then, why can't they do it again tonight?? It's been three years after all.
WHAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN FOR US TO WIN TONIGHT??
- Bruins of all stripes -- students, grad students, alums, fans -- all need to show up tomorrow donning the blue and gold and show them (the TrOJan faithful) that we are a force to be reckoned with en masse. Show up, be loud and be faithful. Expect a win. Drown out that godawful band. Make sure Barkley and Petey can hear you!
- Defense, Coach Bullough: throw such a heavy blitz at Barkley that he plays SCARED. He's 18 after all and this is THE biggest game of his life. Don't let that line breathe, don't let baby Barkley get ANY momentum, SCARE HIM. HIT HIM. TERRIFY HIM. Be fierce! HIT THEM HARD! More importantly, Defense... don't drop any picks! Get those turnovers!
- Offense, Kick Returners... HOLD ON TO THE BALL. Be efficient. Control the game. Exasperate the TrOJie offense by eating up the clock and grinding away at them --in the trenches. This is one of those games when I truly wish I were a Defensive or Offensive lineman... I would be so fired up that my assigned man simply would NOT beat me. He would be CRAZY to challenge me. If I were ever beaten on any given play, I would become so angry I'd have to be restrained. IF all our guys take it upon themselves to literally beat and outlast their assigned opponent opposite them on the line, it's a wonder what we can accomplish.
- That being said, let's NOT BE OVERCONFIDENT. Sure, we've won three straight and have placed ourselves in a good position to advance this season, but this doesn't mean we can mail this one in and assume SC can't win or won't try to win despite how demoralized they supposedly are. I hearken back to our 2005 team that had only lost ONE game by the time it faced $C... That team underestimated $C and got their tails handed to them (66-19)... the rest is history. Moral of the story?? play as if you've been disrespected. Play as if the TrOJies have been shooting their mouths off all week and it's time they pay attention to the more focused, better team.
- Lastly, they defaced our Bruin this week, let's see our team DEFACE theirs in every phase of the game.
It's game time gentlemen! Take care of business!
Go Bruins! BEAT SC!!!!