As USC gets it in gear, yes, title-game talk is possible

Chris Dufresne takes time out (he gets three per half) each Friday during the season to answer questions on college football. This week's topics include the Trojans, the Beavs, and a burning question about West Virginia-Baylor.

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Unbuckling the mailbag:

Question: Put down the Trojan Kool-Aid. Title-game hopes? Now, if you're talking about Alamo Bowl title hopes, then we're in the realm of reality.

Tim Donovan

Answer: For the record, I much prefer Trojan Tang because it's easier to mix in my 42-ounce Tommy Trojan thermos with my giant USC No. 1 foam finger.

Except I graduated from Cal State Fullerton and married into Stanford.

And hey, don't knock the Alamo Bowl. That would be a big upgrade for USC players who have never participated in a postseason game staged in a football stadium. (The Emerald Bowl was at a tricked-up baseball yard in San Francisco.)

And what I was foam-finger pointing out about USC was a path for the Trojans to get back in the title-game conversation following the horrific seven-point defeat at top-20 Stanford.

The fine folks at Mailbag, including dozens of technicians, fact-checkers, rewrite men, makeup artists and gaffers, prefer to look at the positive.

USC certainly has the talent and schedule strength to climb back into contention, although it didn't look good when the Trojans were down, 14-0, early against Utah.

The Trojans played a sloppy, mistake-filled game in Salt Lake City, but still showed the resilience and fortitude to rally back from the abyss.

I see through my myopic kaleidoscope USC getting better as the year goes on, which is what happened last year on the way to 10 wins. The Trojans right now remind me of a Lamborghini running on peanut butter oil, sputtering between gear shifts.

Q: Oregon State is No. 1 in two BCS computer polls (Colley & Massey), Notre Dame No. 2. As if the BCS system wasn't already a joke.


A: Breaking news since you fired off that tweet of indignation about Beaver Nation: Oregon State is now No. 1 in three of the six BCS computers. Anderson-Hester has also checked in with Corvallis on top.

Mike Riley is going to go broke buying In-N-Out burgers.

The stock answer for these early-season poll anomalies is that rankings really don't mean anything until mid-October.

But guess what? It's almost mid-October. It's not that early. The first BCS standings will be released a week from Sunday.

I love what Oregon State has already done this season and say the rankings are justified in the sense the Beavers are undefeated with a huge home win over then-ranked Wisconsin and a big road win at still-ranked UCLA.

Oregon State followed up with another win at improved Arizona. It's not the Beavers' fault they weren't ranked going into the season.

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