Trojans deserve national attention

first_imgSaturday was a day of firsts all across the college football landscape. The first time redshirt freshman wide receiver Steven Mitchell caught a touchdown pass. The first time a USC quarterback threw seven touchdown passes in a game. The first time Alabama fans complimented the play-calling of Lane Kiffin. Most surprising of all, though: Saturday evening was the first time I found myself rooting for Notre Dame.Sark it to me · First-year head coach Steve Sarkisian has led the Trojans to a 5-2 record this season. This mark includes two wins over Top 25 teams, in then-No. 13 Stanford and then-No. 10 Arizona. – Mariya Dondonyan | Daily TrojanI never thought there would come a time where I could actively root for the Fighting Irish. Yet, compared to the unbridled arrogance of Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly is practically a saint, and that’s really saying something. Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson’s fourth-and-18 prayer and subsequent (almost) touchdown to Corey Robinson actually had me out of my chair, cheering for the luck of the Irish to prevail yet again.While 6-1 Notre Dame is certainly for real this year, what I was really rooting for was the demise of Jimbo, Jameis Winston and Co. Fisher’s time at LSU must have convinced him that they don’t play football west of the Mississippi. That is the only possible reason I can think of for his comments to the media earlier this week. According to ESPN, he was quoted as saying  Florida State and Mississippi State are the only two teams with victories over two opponents currently ranked in the Top 25.I guess Jimbo in his infinite wisdom forgot about the University of Southern California. At the time of his comments, both Stanford and Arizona were ranked in the Top 25. It was probably just a careless mistake, but Fisher’s attitude is reflective of a seemingly national fetish for the SEC.Florida State is in a different conference, yet its coach succumbs to the allure of the vaunted SEC, with their hard-nosed, swarming defenses that “play football the way it should be played.” Fisher must be listening to the plethora of pundits out there who stand firm in their belief that football begins and ends in the Southeastern Conference.Though that may have been true in 2009, it certainly isn’t today. The only reason the SEC has so many ranked teams currently, is because of the conference’s hype in the preseason. Now that the dust has settled, Mississippi State’s wins against LSU and Texas A&M aren’t that impressive. The list could go on and on.All the while, the Pac-12 is practically ignored because the teams “don’t play defense out west.” Well, I would love to see how Ole Miss and Alabama’s defensive efficiency ratings would fare if you swapped the plodding schemes of Tennessee, Florida and Arkansas with Washington State, California and Oregon State.You have to look no further than Oregon and Alabama to see selective perception at work. Both teams were upset by ranked opponents, with Ole Miss admittedly being more formidable than Arizona. The Crimson Tide’s sole impressive victory is over a vastly overrated Texas A&M team, while Oregon ran roughshod over an elite Michigan State defense, thoroughly dismantling them in the fourth quarter. Yet, Alabama is two spots ahead of the Ducks.The problem with the bias is it just isn’t warranted anymore. The Pac-12 isn’t just USC and the nine dwarfs, nor is the Big 12 Oklahoma, Texas and the rest. College football has shifted, few dominating defenses remain and the team that can score at will is generally the victor.With an array of talented gunslingers and the brightest offensive minds in football running the show, it’s time the Pac-12 and, to a lesser extent, the Big 12, got their due. In any other industry, innovators who are ahead of the trends get praised. In college football, they get mocked.It may seem trivial to lament the biases in an attempt to change the narrative about the SEC and Pac-12, but doing so can have long-term repercussions. USC is probably not a playoff contender this year, but the Trojans certainly have the resources and talent to be a fixture in the conversation moving forward.If the committee were choosing between a one-loss USC team and a one-loss SEC team, it would stink if USC was passed over for competing in what is perceived to be a weaker conference. That is certainly a conceivable possibility as it stands now, which is the crux of my issue with the unjustified love affair the media and some coaches have with the SEC.Speaking of USC, the Trojans had a vintage blowout on Saturday. Though it is hard to put stock in their performance against that Colorado team, the victory showcased some maturity for the Trojans. Last time USC was coming off a road victory over a Top 25 opponent, they were upset by Boston College. To remain focused on the task at hand, and beat up on the Buffaloes was definitely a step in the right direction for this USC team.It was great to finally see the team open it up a bit. Most of the focus will be on the deep balls, but I was happy the Trojans finally started to utilize the middle of the field, throwing 15- to 20-yard passes between the hashes. Next week will be a better indication of the Trojan’s true offensive prowess, and hopefully it will power them to a victory at Rice-Eccles stadium. A third road win over a top-20 opponent would be very impressive. Even Jimbo might take notice. Jake Davidson is a sophomore majoring in accounting. His column, “Davidson’s Direction,” runs Mondays. To comment on this story, visit or email Jake at [email protected]last_img