Sunday, September 4, 2016

Lane Kiffin's Revenge: Alabama Beats USC 52-6 in Season Opener

Last I checked, the Angels were 20 and 1/2 games back, so I've obviously blown them off for the season. I'm looking for Houston or Seattle for the playoffs and World Series, and of course San Francisco and the Dodgers for the National League.

With that in mind, this year gives me a chance to really get into college football from the opening weekend of the season (I won't be watching nearly as much baseball), although the USC Trojans got off to an extremely inauspicious start. The Crimson Tide pounded USC 52-6. It was merciless, and frankly, Alabama wasn't even playing that well. The Trojans pretty much gave it up after about the first quarter. Man, it was ugly. But oh what sweet revenge for former USC Head Coach Lane Kiffin, who was unceremoniously thrown under the bus on the tarmac at LAX last year, fired in one of the most embarrassing moments in Trojan football history.

In any case, at the Los Angeles Times, "Alabama overpowers USC early and then often in 52-6 rout." And from Bill Plaschke's column, "Trojans aren't ready for Crimson Tide, prime time or much of anything":

It was the first game of the season, the most celebrated game in several seasons, and the USC football team was not ready.

How could they not be ready?

It was heralded as the beginning of a new era, the start of a new chapter, and USC acted like it was still on stinking probation.

How could a traditional national power take the national stage looking like … this?

The USC football team was many things in its 52-6 loss to top-ranked Alabama on Saturday night at AT&T Stadium. But there was one thing it was not, one thing that will be sure to upset the thousands of USC fans who joyfully and hopefully traveled here, one thing everyone had counted on seeing from this new look of a Clay Helton-coached team.

The Trojans were not Trojans. They were not the program that once had the discipline to create a dynasty. They were not Alabama, and that’s fine, because Alabama has won four national titles in seven years. But, seriously, they were not even within six touchdowns of Alabama in a game that wasn’t that close.

“Cold hard truth is we didn’t play up to ours,” Helton said of the Trojans’ potential.

Cold hard truth, they didn’t show up, and how could they not show up?

They were recklessly undisciplined. Jabari Ruffin stomped Alabama’s Minkah Fitzpatrick directly in the crotch and got tossed out of the game.

They were distracted. Iman Marshall quit on a play and allowed ArDarius Stewart to race freely for a 39-yard touchdown pass.

They were outsmarted. Marshall and teammate Chris Hawkins both blitzed and left Stewart wide open to race downfield in completing a 71-yard touchdown pass.

They were sloppy. Chris Tilbey, the Trojans punter, dropped a snap and fell helplessly on the ball.

They were flimsy. Damien Harris ran through, and away from, the entire USC defense for 71 yards to set up another touchdown run.

They were disorganized. Helton called all three of his first-half timeouts in the first quarter, including two in seven seconds.

Finally, perhaps most painfully, they were willfully embarrassed by their former coach. Lane Kiffin, the deposed Trojans boss who runs the Alabama offense, poured it on, and on, and on. Everyone saw this coming, but it was even uglier than expected, Kiffin’s revenge even more painful than imagined...
Still more.