By JOHN P. WISE
One Great Season
EUGENE, Oregon -- I made it.After waking up Monday in Cincinnati, driving to Dayton, flying to Washington, D.C., flying to Phoenix, flying to Portland and crashing at a hotel there late last night, I drove down picturesque Interstate 5 this afternoon and arrived at my hotel at about 5 p.m. Pacific time.
I can tell the Canon 50D is going to be busier this week than my liver was last week. Great to see old friends in the Queen City, sure, but equally certain is how badly I need a break from all that fun, and signs point to such relief here in this sleepy pocket of the very scenic Pacific Northwest where I know exactly nobody.
Efforts to secure a credential for Saturday's USC at Oregon game have been shut down, but the investigation into a reasonably priced single ticket is pending. Not only will this game likely decide the PAC 10 champion, but it's Halloween and the fans at Autzen Stadium are notorious party people, so keep your eyes open for some good imagery this weekend.
Until then, it looks like I'll get some post-practice interviews Wednesday, but before I get that far, here are some other tidbits to consider this week:
+ Many are talking about how a USC win makes it a serious BCS National Championship game contender, but you know what? I'll say the same about the Trojans' opponent Saturday. Oregon is No. 10 in the BCS rankings, and beating Pete Carroll's highly ranked USC gang would shoot those Ducks squarely into the mix, and very deservedly so.
+ Wouldn't it be funny to see Oregon leapfrog ahead of Boise State in the BCS standings?
+ Iowa, Cincinnati, Boise State and TCU are the second-tier contenders for a spot in the BCS title game. Those entirely in control of their destiny include Florida, Alabama, Texas and most likely LSU and possibly USC. I think Florida or Alabama might actually need to lose twice for one of those second-tier squads to jump ahead. That means that heading into the last month of the season, no fewer than seven and maybe as many as nine losses are needed among the elite names currently among the Top 10 for, say, Iowa or Cincinnati to earn a trip to Pasadena. Such a feat would be just as dramatic than what happened down the stretch in 2007. But don't expect that scenario to materialize. I still think it's going to be Florida and Texas, though I'd prefer to watch Florida and USC.
+ Please stop with the second-guessing of Sam Bradford. Too often we hear the TV pretties talk about the importance of staying in school to get that education, if not to at least enjoy the college experience. Bradford did exactly that, and now Todd McShay, who I typically like, leads the pack of those repeatedly broadcasting the disappointing truths about millions of dollars lost. Tyler Hansbrough came back twice when experts thought he was ready for the next level, and the only reason people don't rip him is because he didn't get hurt. Don't go hindsight and blast a kid barely out of his teens for wanting more school. Bradford knows his decision to stay will cost him in the long run, but he'll still be a good NFL quarterback.