When the Trojans lost to the Stanford Cardinal in Week 3, their road to postseason glory suddenly had a series of roadblocks in the way. For USC to succeed, it became clear that certain programs would need to stumble as well, thereby clearing the way for the Trojans, should they win out. On Saturday, some of those dominoes toppled as college football arrived in Upset City where nine ranked teams lost, including four that were higher than the Trojans.
USC had an early scare against Utah on Thursday night but went on to finish strong, looking crisper than ever once they rebounded to beat the Utes 38-28. The final score is somewhat misleading; if the first Utah two touchdowns that came from Trojan fumbles, and the final one that came in scrub time, USC blew the Utes out, out scoring them 31-7 with first teams playing. The Trojans won convincingly in the face of adversity, and so on Saturday they just had to wait and see what would happen with the rest of college football.
To their fortune, No. 3 Florida State, No. 4 LSU and No. 5 Georgia all fall, and none of them did so gracefully. The Seminoles lost to the North Carolina State Wolf Pack for the fourth straight time as a ranked team. In a most underwhelming offensive performance, LSU only recorded two field goals in their 14-6 losing effort to the Florida Gators, eliminating the possibility of a Bama/LSU national title repeat. And Georgia–who got exposed as a pretender a week ago against Tennessee–got embarrassed by Steve Spurrier and the South Carolina Gamecocks, narrowly avoiding getting blanked in their 35-7 loss.
With these losses, USC now nearly control it’s own destiny, with a 12-0 season from West Virginia being the lone stop sign. With the way Geno Smith is leading the offense, isn’t entirely implausible.
Barring that, the Trojans could see their path lead right to Miami if they play their cards right, since winning out would mean victories against both Oregon(presumably twice) and Notre Dame, who sit ranked ahead of USC. Plus only SEC could possibly be undefeated and the only rematch scenario that seems plausible would be if South Carolina and Florida were to meet and repeat.
There are still about seven weeks of football to go, and several more dominoes that need to fall in USC’s favor, as well their improvement from week to week. Still, this weekend’s wild match-ups and important losses put the Trojans’ in a far better spot than 24 hours ago.
Getcha popcorn ready, folks. It’s about to get interesting.