Monday, November 13, 2006

Whittier Daily News: Cal's Defeat Excites USC

By Scott Wolf

LOS ANGELES - When USC defeated Oregon late Saturday night, it was the Trojans' second celebration of the day.  The first one occurred in the afternoon at the team's hotel when Arizona upset California.  "Everyone on our floor was out in the hallway screaming," offensive tackle Kyle Williams said.  "We had a little jumping around party when Cal lost," linebacker Oscar Lua added.  Even the Trojans were not quite sure initially how to react to Cal losing, since it does not help USC's computer ranking to play a team with another loss.  "(Center) Ryan Kalil and I were talking about it and we had mixed feelings," Williams said. "We were saying, `Should they win? Should they lose?' "  Cal's loss does mean one thing: USC can clinch a Rose Bowl appearance and Pacific-10 Conference title by defeating the Golden Bears on Saturday at the Coliseum.  "We can finally play to decide this thing," USC coach Pete Carroll said Sunday. "It's evident in this game."  But for the No. 4-ranked Trojans (8-1, 6-1), there's a bigger prize. Thanks to a flurry of upsets, USC vaulted to No. 3 in the BCS standings and will probably earn a trip to the national championship game by defeating Cal, Notre Dame and UCLA.  It's a quick recovery from two weeks ago, when USC's loss to Oregon State meant a lot of teams needed to lose. Most of them did, and the Trojans leapfrogged one that did not (Florida) in the Harris poll, which helped them overtake the Gators in the BCS rankings.

"Am I surprised? No," Carroll said. "It's hard to win all your games. A lot of people assumed teams would not lose another game. But it doesn't mean anything right now. It doesn't add any emotion or any excitement to our games.  "We'll see what happens. These are fun games. We've been through everything now. We had to lose one to figure it out."  It was probably fortunate Saturday's game was not on in prime time for most of the nation, because Carroll was caught yelling an expletive three times after a replay official reversed an original reversal and awarded Oregon a touchdown in the third quarter.  "That was really out of line to be yapping like that," Carroll said.  Carroll said tailback Emmanuel Moody would be out indefinitely with a sprained ankle. Moody will undergo an MRI this week.  Lua hyperextended his elbow when he stopped Oregon quarterback Dennis Dixon on a fourth-and-1 situation in the game's opening series. Lua played with his arm in a brace but said he would be OK.


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