Hawgs, Dawgs, spiking blood pressure, Ducks & Bears

One plus of being a PAC-10 fan on the east coast is that I only have an academic interest in most of the games shown, so I can get stuff done other than further the slow demise of our couch.

In the early afternoon I took my older daughter to a birthday party, and the host, knowing that I follow college ball, immediately told me that Arkansas was up on Auburn. (Incidentally, not too many of these birthday parties feature such accomodating behaviour — I think we know too many people from the northeast around here; the Ivy alums are the worst for not understanding about sport that really matters.)

Anyway, I immediately felt a superstitious fear… Auburn struggled against South Carolina, and then USC struggled against Wazoo; are Auburn the canary in the coal mine for highly(possible over-) ranked teams that are doing more rebuilding than was anticipated? Was the Hawg spanking suggestive of a Dawg pounding (sorry).

Not quite, as it turned out, but that was a mixed game for SC. Some really solid offensive work, great pass protection, and some really really stupid penalties at inopportune moments… Steve Smith’s outrageous “now you TD it, now you don’t” catch went from highlight to forgotten in seconds, for instance. And the defense was still having issues with pass rushing, but I thought they did a decent job of holding Washington’s running game at least under control?

I had some early comedy in the game on receipt of a call from Thistle71, who figured I would be near a phone. Turned out that the minimal latency in the call was well shorter than the lag that he had on the broadcast, so I was whooping and whistling over trick touchdown plays a full 5 seconds before he saw what happened. If only my blood pressure ? & endorphine could have survibed the aftermath.

It looks like Oregon ran almost a mirror image play against Cal, a rare moment of success in an otherwise brutal pounding. The Ducks did unravel a bit, but the Bears made them pay for turnovers and mistakes. Cal is plainly a team that is playing well and believes in themselves… I found the self-congratulation on-field a little wearing after a while but I suppose that when you’re handing out a beating, it never gets old. Still, I was left thinking something like the usual “act like you’ve been there before,” but I guess that given Cal’s season last year, maybe a lot of them haven’t.

And, to be fair, it wasn’t a Cal player stamping on a prone opponent. (I don’t count the Oregon player who tried to get air off an offensive lineman’s back to block a kick; for the entertainment of all that needs to be re-classified from illegal play to “football move,” just to see what happens.

Anway, I am relieved that SC made it past Washington, but a fired up Cal remains a real threat to winning the Pac-10. If they have can play like this through the season, they definitely can pee in SC’s soup.

And your final thought for the day is Thistle71’s assessment of the result of Oregon – Cal, which just arrived via text message: “Musberger… I blame him.”

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