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Hype Machine Breaks Down in Rose Bowl

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If there is one lesson that needs to be learned by the national pundits after Texas’ “shocking” win over Southern California in the Rose Bowl, it is this:
No one knows anything.

The back-to-back Heisman Trophy winners couldn’t save the Trojans Wednesday night, and in some ways hindered them.

Reggie Bush inexplicably tried to lateral a ball, and the result was a turnover. Matt Leinart held the ball too long on the game’s last play, eliminating any chance of a field goal to tie the game.

OK, to criticize Leinart and Bush after their seasons is unfair. Both are tremendous players. But neither have divine capabilities, something that may have been lost after all the USC hype.

Some called the Trojans the best team in college football history, a topic sports reporters still debate as if a definitive answer is coming and being right on the topic is vital.

This game will not be a wake up call to those who push players and teams as if they cannot be beaten. A true wake up call came three years ago when Ohio State not only played with, but beat Miami. The Buckeyes couldn’t stop the hype then, and I doubt the Longhorns will stop it now.

Besides, Texas has a date with the hype machine.

* Leinart said after the game that he believed USC was the better team. I remember Cleveland second baseman Carlos Baerga saying something similar after the Indians lost the World Series in 1995 to the Braves. Actually, you hear the “even though we lost, we’re a better team” statement quite a bit. In some ways, I imagine it’s a way for players (and fans) to cope with a loss after they had been so certain of victory.

Baerga was wrong 10 years ago, and Leinart is wrong now. To say otherwise is to defeat the whole purpose of sports. Sports are played not on a computer, and not decided by player statistics. They are decided on the field.

The Indians had a chance to prove they were a better team in 1995, but lost in six games. USC had the chance to prove they were better, and lost.
Case closed.

* Pete Carroll has never really been my favorite coach. It started a few years ago when he allowed O.J. Simpson on the field during a USC practice. Then we saw footage of O.J. shaking hands with the players. Most of the Trojans looked like they had just met Santa Claus.

Nonetheless, I give Carroll credit for being gracious in the loss. He looked so unaffected while being interviewed that I had to wonder if he ever gets upset about anything not involving college officials.

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  • And can this put the debate of whether USC could beat the worst NFL team to rest? They couldn’t.

  • Texas would get schooled by the Texans.

  • RedTard

    This game almost made me feel sorry for Reggie Bush. If Vince Young comes out will Bush still be taken no. 1?

    When the game came down to the wire the Heisman trophy winners folded and Vince Young rose to the occasion. Leinart didn’t show up in form until the second half, and Bush was basically contained all night minus one scamper.

    I know Texas defense is fast but I got bad news for Bush, every NFL defense is faster. Bush is clearly and extremely good player, but does he really have the potential to dominate the NFL the way Young can. Young is a better passer and runner than Michael Vick already. Add extreme speed, a strong 6’5″ frame, and great leadership ability and you’ve got the total package.

    BTW, I don’t know who said that any college team could compete with the pros, but they must be crazy. A more realistic question would be to pit De La Salle or Southlake High School v. some small Div III and NAIA colleges.

  • JB CO

    I couldn’t believe Leinart claimed USC is the better team. They might have better numbers in some statistical category or more individual awards or better athletes or better cockiness, but the better team is the one that wins the game. That is the sole purpose of a team. Win. Leinart lost, and I was surprised at what a sore loser he was.

  • RedTard

    “I couldn’t believe Leinart claimed USC is the better team.” JB

    I’m more surprised that the media hasn’t focused on this example of poor sportsmanship. The media had a field day when Young said that he let his team down by not bringing back the Heisman. Leinart’s comment seemed much worse but has garnered little attention.

    Perhaps I’ll have to rethink my view on the double standard between white and black athletes. I thought we were past that. On the other hand, the heisman was in the run up to the big game, Lienart’s statement probably isn’t as big of news because the season is over.

  • Two things:

    – I thought Lienart’s statement was pretty classless.

    – I think Young, when he eventually goes pro, will be a draft bust.

  • Jim LeBlanc

    Texas won by THREE points even though the officiating was as poor as I’ve seen in a while.

    Any one of the officiating errors made, to the benefit of Texas, would have fairly and honestly changed the results.

    Woe is me and my sour grapes…

  • Justin Berry

    I disagree with you Mr. Leblanc. If the touchdown were called back, which I agree it should have been, you give Texas first and goal from the four. That would have changed the game only in the respect that Vince Young would have had four more yards and one more touchown.
    The supposed fumble was no fumble unless you put it in slo-mo and pause it on contact.

  • Teddy Knight

    Mr. Leblanc, USC wouldn’t even be in the big game if one non-call was made in South Bend. USC should have lost in South Bend if the officials had been doing their jobs. Bad calls are part of football.

  • followthemoney1

    on the controversial touchdown that should have been called back because vince young’s knee hit the ground. if we assume that texas — which appeared to be unstoppable on this drive — would have eventually scored a touchdown, then it might have helped SC. if more time had been used, sc would not have been able to make a field goal in the final seconds of the first half.

  • Justin Berry

    The entire game was decided by the Texas defense who stepped up when it counted. I dont like the Texas Longhorns but I will say they are the better team as a whole.

    USC has no lack of star power in the PAC-10 but I wonder how good they would be in the SEC,Big10, Big12, or ven the ACC. After looking at the PAC-10 bowl rcord this year I am inclined to buy into the belif that they are a weak conference.

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