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Call them the national champs

The USC Trojans have been called many things this season. People have called them a soft, finesse team. People have called them a good team in a not-so-great conference. People have called them a team that is a year away from being really good. Those same people need to start calling the USC Trojans another thing - national champs.

I don't need a computer program or some complicated system to tell me that USC is the best team in the country. I saw it like everyone else with my own two eyes.

While the 28-14 score may not indicate it, USC dominated Michigan in Thursday's Rose Bowl to claim at least a share of the national title.

There isn't any room for debate on this. They are champs even if they didn't play in the recognized national championship game.

Give me a reason that they aren't.

Because the BCS says they're not.

Let's be real honest here. The BCS can best be summed up by removing its middle initial. This whole situation only reinforces the idea that the system is flawed. The BCS system is based on a myriad of things including rank in college polls, the Jeff Sagarin rating system, strength of schedule and many things that are based on some sort of algebraic equations.

What in the world does an algebra teacher know about football? You know what's missing in the BCS system? Common sense.

Any person who watches college football with any regularity, could tell you that USC should have been playing for the national title. They have an explosive offense and a stingy defense. They were called a finesse team that wouldn't stand up to the physical play of the Big 10, Big 12 or SEC. Why don't you ask Michigan running back Chris Perry if the Trojans play finesse football.

Perry, a Heisman trophy finalist, managed just 85 yards against the so-called soft Trojan defense. He has more bruises on his body than a box of month-old apples.

Sure, Michigan quarterback John Navarre threw for 271 yards, but he also threw 46 times, completing 27. For the Wolverines to throw 46 times in a game, it means they weren't able to do what they want offensively, which is establish the run.

Navarre averaged just 4.9 yards per pass completion and spent most of his time picking himself up off the Rose Bowl turf. When he wasn't hurried, harassed or hounded by the USC pass rush, Navarre was hammered to the tune of nine sacks against a Michigan offensive line that had allowed a total 15 sacks on the entire season.

"We just couldn't handle their pressure up front," said Michigan head coach Lloyd Carr after the game. "We gave up too many sacks. That was probably the difference in the game."

If that wasn't the difference, then it was USC's potent offense, which shredded Michigan's vaunted, physical defense for 410 yards of total offense.

Quarterback Matt Leinhart threw for 342 yards including three touchdown passes while even catching TD pass himself.

Michigan's sixth-ranked defense had only given up five touchdown passes on the season, but the Wolverines looked a step slower and a shade smaller against USC's big play receivers.

What was blatantly obvious was that USC could have scored more points if it had pressed the issue. With a 28-7 lead in the third quarter, the Trojans were content just to run the clock out in the fourth quarter. It was the first time in seven games that USC failed to score 40 points in a game.

The only people who watched the game and won't admit that USC deserves a share of the national title are the players from Oklahoma and LSU and the idiots associated with the BCS.

''Good. They won the Rose Bowl,'' Oklahoma All-American tackle Tommie Harris told reporters. ''They can be No. 1 as long as we can be national champs.''

Go ahead and keep telling yourself that, Tommie. Whatever helps you sleep at night.

Unlike Oklahoma, USC did what it had to do the last week of the season to keep its national title hopes alive. The Trojans whipped Oregon State while the Sooners were manhandled by Kansas State. I don't want to say Oklahoma choked, but well, I really can't think of a better word.

Yes, USC lost to an inferior team in the Cal Golden Bears. But the loss came earlier in the season in triple overtime on a last second field goal. Oklahoma's would have needed to score four touchdowns in the fourth quarter against Kansas State to even get to overtime.

I'm not saying the winner of the Sunday's Sugar Bowl doesn't deserve to also be called national champion, but you can't say that USC isn't.

And you know what? I am glad it worked out this way. I am glad that there are co-national champions. I am glad that there is debate, outrage, uproar and unhappiness with the status quo. Because it's the quickest way to institute a change.

This whole BCS system is a joke. BCS doesn't stand for basically cruddy system, but it should. It's corporate heads and computers deciding the national champions instead of it being played out on the the field.

What is even more ridiculous is that the voters in the USA Today/ESPN coaches' poll are obligated to vote for the winner of the Sugar Bowl as the national champion. So that means that USC Pete Carroll and Michigan coach Lloyd Carr must vote either LSU or Oklahoma as No. 1.

"I think we just won the national championship," Carroll told reporters after the game. "I think it's clear we did everything we need to do.

If I was Carroll, I'd sooner vote an all-girls college as the No. 1 team than either LSU or Oklahoma.

Carr, who was on the business end of the Thursday's whipping has his own thoughts on who the champ should be.

"He won a national championship, I'm sure of that," Carr said of Carroll after the game.

So how do we solve this proble?. It's pretty simple really. The winner of the Sugar Bowl should meet USC two weeks from now on a neutral field to decide who the real national champion is. That's the best, and only, way to end the debate

I don't need a computer or mathematical system to tell me that.


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