USCâ€™s final bomb was classless attack
Â Jurrell Casey (91) and Armond Armstead, top, had reasons to celebrate after USC defeated UCLA 28-7 but the debate rages if their coach Pete Carroll out of line for scoring one more touchdown after UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel called a late timeout. - AP Photo Â
By Jason LewisSentinel Staff Writer
People have been splitting hairs all week about USC Trojans head coach Pete Carroll's decision to throw a bomb during the final minute of their game against the UCLA Bruins. There really is no right or wrong answer, because it is within the rules, but seeing that there has been a backlash, Carroll should not have done it. There will be more than enough angry people, so something are just better left alone.
The call was not about being competitive, because nobody kneels the ball down on first down and then throws for the endzone on second.
The retaliation for a timeout called by UCLA is a weak argument, because UCLA was losing, so of course they were going to call a timeout. Why wouldn't they? UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel said that he was hoping for a miracle play. Like a block punt, or something that would lead to a quick touchdown and give the Bruins a chance at an onside kick. It was highly unlikely, but if there is a chance for it, then a coach has to coach for it.
Any coach would have called a timeout in that situation. If USC had simply ran the ball then there would not be any backlash, so the called timeout is not the root of the problem. The long pass was the root of the problem. Without the long pass nobody has an issue with anything.
What Carroll did was send a big "screw you" to UCLA. Carroll is well within his right to do that, but the interesting part of it is that Carroll had a major issue when Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh sent a "screw you" to USC by going for a two-point conversion when the game was well out of reach.
If Carroll thought that it was in poor taste for Stanford to do something like that, then why did he do it to UCLA? Seems very hypocritical.
The reason Harbaugh went for the two-point conversion was because Carroll has had a history of running it up against PAC-10 opponents. He has a history of going for it on 4th down in games that are out of reach. What he did against UCLA is not out of character for him at all. He knew that there would be backlash for that play, but that did not mean much to him. Knowing that it would cause uproar is why he should not have done it.
If Carroll does not want opponents to go for a two-point conversion when the game is out of reach, then he should not throw bombs in the final minute of a game that is seemingly out of reach. He cannot have it both ways.
Now that a number of PAC-10 teams have caught up to USC, Carroll better be on the look out for teams sending the "screw you" back his way.
The only good thing about that play was it gave people something to talk about, because that was a bad game between two teams who are not very good.
UCLA's offense has been bad all year, and USC's offense has been spotty at best. The only positive thing USC did on offense was limiting the turnovers, which UCLA did not do. The difference in the game was two interceptions thrown by UCLA that led to USC touchdowns. Other than that, it was a defensive battle for both teams.
At this point USC is a 2nd tier bowl team at best, and they could slip from there. UCLA is bowl eligible, but do not be surprised if they are not invited to one.