Previewing & Predicting The 2013 Seattle Seahawks

Last year, I got to my predictions column late.  Past week 1 late.  It was kind of a sorry development, but what are you gonna do?  The season was already started by this time last year.  Anyway, I didn’t think very highly of the Seahawks heading into the 2012 season.  I didn’t think very lowly of them either, which is how you get to an 8-8 record.  Honestly, I would’ve predicted 9-7, but since I got to my post a week late – and the Seahawks crapped the bed in Arizona that first week – I downgraded to 8-8.

The Seahawks, as everyone knows, finished 11-5, going 7-1 over the second half of the season, and 1-1 in the post-season, ending up in the Divisional Round of the playoffs.  Those last 10 games were as epic of a run as you can get without actually making it to the Super Bowl.

But, enough about last year.  That was damn near a year ago, for Christ’s sake!

This year, the sky is the limit.  At worst, the Seahawks will be 11-5.  At best, I’m sorry, but at best you’ve gotta say 16-0.

Before we get into official predictions, let’s take a look at the make-up of this team:

Part 1 – Roster

How do the Seahawks differ from this time last year?  Well, for starters, our backup quarterback is new (or old, I can never tell).  Tarvar takes over for Matt Flynn, and to be honest with you, it’s probably a downgrade.  Obviously, we don’t know how good Flynn can really be (and, reports indicate that he can’t even win the fucking starting job on the RAIDERS of all teams), but I guess that’s the point.  We know what Tarvar is – he’s a near-.500 quarterback – and we don’t know what Flynn is.  Flynn could be great in small doses, Flynn could be great in large doses, or he could be terrible no matter the serving size.  If you’re a salary cap-head, then you like Tarvar because he saves you money.  So, maybe in the long run this is an upgrade?  Whatever, who cares, moving on.

At running back, Lynch and Turbin return, ostensibly in the same roles they occupied as last year.  Christine Michael replaces Leon Washington, which is an improvement at our #3 running back spot, but hurts us in the return game, as Michael is not a returner.  Derrick Coleman takes over for Michael Robinson, which is a soul-crushing blow.  But, on the flipside, he’s younger, cheaper, and under team control for longer.  Considering Robinson only played somewhere around 30% of our offensive snaps in 2012, I can’t imagine this one little move at fullback is going to make that much of a difference.  Finally, Spencer Ware is either going to be a special teams replacement for Robinson, or he’s going to spend the bulk of the season on the Inactive List on gameday.  We’ll see.

Rice, Tate, Baldwin, and Kearse are all hold-overs from last year.  Kearse, of course, spent most of 2012 on the Practice Squad, but came on late in a special teams capacity.  I wouldn’t expect a TON out of him, but then again he is going to be our starting kick returner, so buttons.  He did, after all, return that one kick in the pre-season for a touchdown.  If he turns out to be a monster in that aspect of the game, I might cream in my pants.  Harvin starts out the season on the PUP list and will hopefully return sometime in November.  Stephen Williams – the pre-season phenom – is holding his seat for the time being.  It’s hard to see this team keep five active receivers going every game (remember, you can only play 45 of your 53 guys every gameday), but then again, can you really keep this guy off the field?  I’d like to see the Seahawks throw one long bomb jump ball to him every half; I bet he comes down with half of them, and in so doing earns his weekly paycheck.

This year, we’re only keeping the two tight ends, instead of last year’s three.  The lone holdover is the uber-talented Zach Miller.  He’s our starter and our muse (our flame).  Anthony McCoy, as you’ll recall, is lost for the season on IR.  Evan Moore, thankfully, is no more.  In his place, we actually have a guy worth a damn in Luke Willson.  Even though Willson is a rookie, he looks like the real deal and the future at the position we’ve been trying so hard for so long to draft.

Our starting O-Line remains intact, which is probably the most important thing outside of quarterback you want to remain intact.  Okung, McQuistan, Unger, Sweezy, and Giacomini are the guys, with James Carpenter getting worked in (over time, to be the full-time replacement at left guard).  Lemuel Jean-Pierre returns as our backup center, Mike Person returns as our backup … something.  Michael Bowie and Alvin Bailey are a couple of rookie projects who came on strong this pre-season.  Gone is John Moffitt, traded to Denver for being not worth the time or effort.

On the D-Line, Clemons, Bryant, and Mebane all return.  Clemons avoided the PUP list, as he is a specimen of the gods and will hopefully start practicing within the next couple weeks.  Everyone else is brand new.  Avril & Bennett are our two big free agent splashes.  Both are kinda hurt, but both should be okay to play out of the gate (if not, then expect one or both to be Inactive right along with Clemons for Week 1).  Tony McDaniel is a less-heralded signing, but his impact will be just as important as he will be our starting 3-technique defensive tackle.  Jordan Hill is a rookie who survived pre-season mostly healthy.  He’ll get regular playing time in the defensive tackle rotation.  Jesse Williams, unfortunately yet predictably, landed on IR with his bum knee.  O’Brien Schofield and D’Anthony Smith are cast-offs from other teams who we know little about.  Schofield spent most of the pre-season in Seattle and was fine, I guess.  Smith came over after the cut-downs to 53 and has been injured most of his career.  Questionable move to say the least, but obviously John Schneider and Pete Carroll know something we do not.  Rounding out the group, we have Benson Mayowa, an undrafted rookie out of Idaho who led the team in sacks in the pre-season.  He looks like he’s got some real moves, but unless injuries deplete this team early, it’s hard to see him getting a lot of playing time.

At Linebacker, K.J. Wright and Bobby Wagner return, ready to kick some more ass.  Malcolm Smith also returns and figures to get some playing time at the strong-side spot.  Bruce Irvin has converted to the strong side, but of course he’s suspended for the first four games.  It’ll be interesting to see – A. whose spot he takes upon returning in week 5, and B. how he fares as a pass-rushing linebacker.  The team found room for special teams lord & savior Heath Farwell, so look for that unit to continue demolishing other teams.  Allen Bradford was around last year, but never played.  Now, he’s our backup middle linebacker and might find a way to work himself into a rotation if he keeps up the good work.  Rounding it out, we have John Lotulelei, who will probably never play unless he stands out on special teams.

In the secondary, Marcus Trufant has been replaced by Walter Thurmond, who was injured for most of his career.  Antoine Winfield was let go because our younger guys were just plain better.  Jeremy Lane and Byron Maxwell could be starters for other teams, which is what makes this unit the best in football.  At safety, Winston Guy was let go.  He was kinda flashy, and he blitzed a lot last year, but he didn’t really do a whole lot and shouldn’t be missed.  Chris Maragos is super fast, so he shouldn’t be too much of a step back if Earl Thomas can’t play.  Kam Chancellor and Jeron Johnson round out the group of safeties; Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman complete the set.

Kicker, punter, and long snapper all return.

Part 2 – Analyzing The Roster

Working our way backward, the Special Teams looks as good as it ever has.  Steven Hauschka, as I’ve mentioned before, has been a man possessed this pre-season.  Jon Ryan is Jon Ryan, putting in consistent MVP-quality work.  Clint Gresham hasn’t botched any snaps that I can recall, so bully for him.

In the secondary, you can’t help but be excited for Walter Thurmond.  He’s finally healthy and finally able to show what he can do for this team.  He’s a HUGE upgrade over an aging Marcus Trufant, and that’s important because nickel corner was one of our main areas of concern going into 2013.  To be fair, this team could play a Dime package all day every day and I wouldn’t lose sleep.  Maxwell looks like he could make the Pro Bowl THIS year if he was given a chance to start.

At linebacker, you have to believe this team also improved.  Leroy Hill is gone and they’ve done some shuffling.  K.J. Wright moves to his old spot at the weak-side, so that’s great.  You always want more speed, especially at the linebacker position.  Wagner, with a year under his belt and a chip on his shoulder to prove he doesn’t belong in Luke Kuechly’s shadow, also looked like a man possessed this pre-season.  I expect a huge jump in his play in 2013, rivalling the jump Richard Sherman made from his rookie to his second year.  On the strong side, replacing Wright, we’ve got the combo of Malcolm Smith and eventually Bruce Irvin.  It looks like the team wants the strong side ‘backer to be more of a pass-rush threat, hence the Irvin move.  I love the idea.  Any way this team can get more pressure on the QB that isn’t just sending a safety on a blitz that takes forever to materialize, I’m all for it.  The depth at this position is infinitely better than it was last year too.  Bradford could start on almost any other team, and Lotulelei looks like he could develop into a force if given the chance.

Along the D-Line, you have to have concern, I’m not gonna lie.  Can McDaniel and Hill make up for the loss of Alan Branch and Jason Jones?  When he was healthy, Jones was fairly effective.  And Branch was a starter for the past couple years.  If they can just maintain and not take a step back, I’d be happy.  Also, how long will Mebane be able to stay healthy?  He’s no spring chicken.  Depth at tackle is also a concern.  The Seahawks gave away a couple of decent depth guys in Jaye Howard and Clinton McDonald.  In their place, we have newcomer D’Anthony Smith, and Michael Bennett on passing downs.  Bennett should be solid, but I just don’t know.

On the ends of the line, it’s just as concerning.  Red Bryant returns, and he looks as healthy as ever, so that’s good.  But, he’s still a mountain of a man, and those guys don’t tend to stay healthy for very long.  Clemons we’ve talked about, but it’s still encouraging that he’ll be back soon.  Avril is a little less encouraging, as he hasn’t played at all in pre-season.  The Seahawks robbed Peter to pay Paul a little bit by moving Irvin out of the LEO end spot.  Unless Clemons and/or Avril return soon, this could be a real weakness for the team.  Remember, Greg Scruggs could play both inside and outside, and he’s gone for the year too.  Unless Schofield or Mike Morgan (who I failed to mention above in the roster section) step up in a big way, I think this team is going to be hurting for sacks.  Then again, the first two games are against Carolina and San Francisco, so we should probably worry less about sacks and more about contain.  Either way, it could be rocky for this unit early.

I’m not worried about the O-Line.  If there’s anything I’m rock solid on this year, it’s that.  Even the injury bug doesn’t concern me, because the depth looks good, and Tom Cable is a wizard.

Seeing Luke Willson perform the way he did in the pre-season makes me a LOT more comfortable about the tight end position.  Let’s see if Zach Miller has what it takes to stay on the field for the full go.  If not, then I’m probably going to spend the rest of the season hyperventilating.

I absolutely LOVE what we’ve done with the wide receivers on this team.  Braylon Edwards was never going to be a player worth having.  I’d take Stephen Williams over him any day.  Ben Obomanu was solid on special teams, but he’s worse than Jermaine Kearse.  And when Harvin returns, he’s like a million billion times better than Charly Martin.  Most improved lineup on the team by FAR.

I just kinda like what they did with the running backs.  In a perfect world, football teams would keep 54 players and Michael Robinson would still be on this one.  But, you know, you’ve gotta move on.  Hopefully Derrick Coleman is the next Michael Robinson.  If that’s the case, then we truly are the king of kings.  Also, look for Christine Michael to supplant Turbin before season’s end.  And in a couple years, when Michael is our starting back and Ware is our big tough guy backup, we’ll continue to suck the dicks of John Schneider and Pete Carroll for their foresight and vision.

Russell Wilson.  All you gotta say about the quarterback position.  Stud.  Winner.  Champion.

Part 3 – The Schedule

Week 1 – @ Carolina, 10am:  This is where it pays off having played Russell Wilson the full season last year.  He (along with some shaky late-game defense) cost us that first game in Arizona.  This year, with that in mind, count on Wilson not letting us lose in week 1.  Honestly, I don’t think this will even be close.  Maybe the offense starts out sluggish early, but I think the defense comes to play and we lean on them all game long.

Week 2 – vs. San Francisco, 5:30pm:  Home opener, Sunday Night Football on NBC, the crowd absolutely fucking INSANE … this is where the Seahawks show the 49ers what power football is all about.  Another one I don’t think is all that close.

Week 3 – vs. Jacksonville, 1pm:  Can you say 3-0?  Anyone who has the Seahawks defense in fantasy football can bank on scoring anywhere from 30-60 points, depending on how you score it in your league.  This is the reason why we all drafted them at least three rounds too early.

Week 4 – @ Houston, 10am
Week 5 – @ Indianapolis, 10am:  I’m lumping these together because I’m a coward.  The Seahawks will go 1-1 in these two games, but I just can’t figure out which they’ll win and which they’ll lose.  If you look at it objectively, Houston has a great running game and an okay passing game.  When you figure that our defense is great against the pass, but only so-so against the run, you have to look at that game and figure it’s the loss, right?  Meanwhile, Indy can’t run for shit and they pass 50 times a game.  Nevertheless, my gut is telling me we beat the Texans and lose to the Colts.  Luck is a gamer, he gets better as the game goes on, and I could see this being one of those games like we had against the Lions last season.  High scoring, little defense, and Indy pulls it out at the end with a late TD.  Meanwhile, the Seahawks win ugly in Houston, something like 14-10.

Week 6 – vs. Tennessee, 1pm:  Another easy win.  This will be the game I attend this year, because tickets were reasonably easy to get, weren’t prohibitively expensive, and honestly I don’t care if I go to any games, so what does the opponent matter?  No reason to expect Russell Wilson to play beyond the 3rd quarter in this one.

Week 7 – @ Arizona, 5pm:  Thursday night game, the bane of my existence.  But, I promise to not bitch about them as much this year (unless the games are so ugly and boring, the NFL forces my hand).  Normally, I’d be concerned, but not this year.  Carson Palmer will spend more time on his back than he will on his feet (if he’s even still healthy at this point in the year).  The Seahawks win ugly, but they win, and the defense scores another touchdown.

Week 8 – @ St. Louis, 5:30pm:  Monday Night Football!  Why does the league even schedule the Seahawks to play on the road on nationally televised games?  It’s like they’re tired of showing the rest of the world what real fans look like.  I guess St. Louis could pose a challenge, but I just don’t see it.  Look for something like 24-19, with the Rams scoring late (missing the 2-point conversion) to make it semi-close.

Week 9 – vs. Tampa Bay, 1pm:  I think Tampa looks good this year, but I think they look bad in this game.  Think of it as something like the game vs. Minnesota last year and you’ll be on the right track.  The Bucs are going somewhere, but they’re not contenders.

Week 10 – @ Atlanta, 10am:  Revenge Game!  Still, at this point the Seahawks will be 8-1 coming in.  And Atlanta (and Matt Ryan) just don’t lose at home.  I could honestly see something of a carbon copy of last year’s game, with Atlanta pulling it out at the end.

Week 11 – vs. Minnesota, 1pm:  Total destruction.  No contest.  YOU think YOU can get soup?  Please!  You’re wasting everyone’s time!

Week 12 – BYE:  finally.

Week 13 – vs. New Orleans, 5:30pm:  Monday Night Football #2!  This one is a little scary.  You can’t shut down Drew Brees forever.  Then again, he does take a lot of unnecessary risks, and his receivers really don’t scare anybody.  I think we all get a little nervous for this one, but I think the Seahawks handle them pretty easily.  33-13.

Week 14 – @ San Francisco, 1pm:  Man, what a showdown THIS game will be.  Last year, the Seahawks caught the 49ers at home late.  This year, the tables are turned.  Everyone and their grandmothers are giving this game away to the 49ers, forgetting that the Seahawks last year – in San Francisco – nearly came away victorious.  There were mistakes in the first half that I just don’t think this team makes again.  I think it’s a slug-fest, but I think the Seahawks take the season series and effectively clinch the division right here.  At this point, the 49ers won’t be mathematically eliminated, but they’ll be a couple games back and they’ll have lost the tie-breaker.  Week 14 is where the Super Bowl berth is earned, because week 14 is where the Seahawks make their statement that the #1 seed won’t be denied.

Week 15 – @ New York Giants, 10am:  Another east-coast trip, another 10am start.  Coming after the insane high that was the victory in San Francisco, I see this as a total let-down game.  The Seahawks get off to a slow start and the Giants pull too far ahead.  Russell Wilson tries to engineer a comeback, but too many turnovers seal our fate.

Week 16 – vs. Arizona, 1pm:  At this point, the Seahawks will be 11-3 going into this game.  The #1 seed won’t yet be won, but we’ll have the inside track, at least a game up and also with tie-breaker advantages.  This is a TCB type of game.  It won’t be a massive 58-0 obliteration like last year, but it’ll be comfortable.  We won’t worry for one second about losing this game.

Week 17 – vs. St. Louis, 1pm:  I’d like to say that this has a chance to be flexed, but at this point, with nothing to play for, I just don’t see it.  Russell Wilson will play for a quarter, maybe a half, but then Tarvar will come in and finish it off.  He’s no Charlie Whitehurst, but he’ll do.

Part 4 – Conclusion

13-3.  Number 1 seed in the NFC, with home field all the way to the Super Bowl.  It’s not the easiest schedule in the world, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that you don’t necessarily WANT an easy path to the Super Bowl.  The 2005 Seahawks had one of the easier paths to Super Bowl XL and look at what happened when a team finally posed a challenge.  You want a little trial by fire in this league.  If a schedule is too difficult, that means your team wasn’t good enough.  Bottom line.  Don’t fear this schedule.  A famous writer said that the strongest steel is forged by the fires of Hell.  That’s what we’ll be come playoff time, and that’s what we’ll be in the Super Bowl.

Projecting The 2013 Seattle Seahawks’ 53-Man Roster

Some guys dig on mock-drafts and look to pump them out on a monthly basis whether there’s any new information or not … and some of us like to do mock-rosters because it’s the baseball season and there’s nothing else to write about.

More or less, this is your average NFL 53-man roster:

9 Offensive Linemen
6 Wide Receivers
3 Tight Ends
2 Quarterbacks
4 Running Backs

9 Defensive linemen
7 Linebackers
10 Corners & Safeties

1 Punter
1 Kicker
1 Long Snapper

24 offense, 26 defense, 3 special teams.  You substitute a player here and there depending on special teams coverage needs, but that’s ultimately what you end up with.

So, with this template in mind, why not look at the Seadderall Seahawks and see where things plug in?

Offensive Line

Right now, we’ve got three starters locked in:  our tackles and our center, Okung, Giacomini, and Unger.  For the guards, take your pick of two among the following four:  McQuistan, Carpenter, Sweezy, Moffitt.  All seven of those players are pretty much locks to make the team, which leaves two more offensive line spots.

McQuistan can also play tackle, so that gives you some flexibility.  Jeanpierre, I believe, has some experience as a center, so he might be good to go as one of those final linemen.  I don’t know enough about the linemen to make a very educated guess on the last guy, so let’s just say Mike Person is someone and leave it at that.  Stick the rookies on the practice squad and call it a day.

Quarterbacks

This is Russell Wilson and Brady Quinn.  Almost certainly.  Portis just got shit-canned for being an idiot, which leaves Jerrod Johnson who has never played a down of NFL football.  I’m going to go out on a huge limb and say Brady Quinn’s job is secure, with no chance of this team keeping a third QB.  Johnson would have to blow everyone away in Training Camp to make the leap, and I’m just not buying it.

Tight Ends

Unless injury strikes, this one’s pretty easy too.  You’ve got your starter, Zach Miller.  You’ve got your blocking tight end/backup, Anthony McCoy.  And you’ve got your pass-catching tight end/backup, Luke Willson.  There, there’s your first rookie to make the team.  Coaches seem high on him, even though he did next-to-nothing in college.

Running Backs

Here’s where I’m going to deviate from the norm just a bit.  I think this team keeps five running backs.  Lynch, Turbin and Michael are all locks (there’s rookie #2).  I don’t think this team can afford to give up Michael Robinson, who is not only the starting fullback but also a standout on special teams.  And, I think the team hangs onto Ware (rookie #3) and grooms him to be a fullback replacement for next year.  For the record, I think Ware and possibly Michael regularly ride the pine on gamedays as inactives.

Wide Receivers

To make up some room for our extra running back, I think this team keeps only five receivers (Rice, Tate, Harvin, Baldwin, & Harper).  That decision is made easier depending on how well guys like Baldwin and rookie Chris Harper (rookie #4) take to special teams.  Jermaine Kearse will be a tough guy to leave off, but I just don’t see how this team can afford a sixth receiver with all the talent we’ve got on defense.

Defensive Line

With Scruggs on IR, Irvin suspended for four games, and Clemons on the PUP list, the defensive line became a whole lot easier to figure out.  You’ve got your starting ends:  Bryant and Avril.  You’ve got Mebane and whoever starts opposite of him at the other tackle position.  Bennett is another lock to make this team as a guy you can slide either inside or outside, so that brings us to four.  I think both rookies Hill and Williams make the team and fight for starting minutes (rookies #5 & #6).  I think free agent McDaniel cracks the squad along with veteran McDonald (played a lot last year in backing up Mebane) and young guy Jaye Howard.  That gives us 9.

Of course, you have to anticipate Irvin and Clemons returning, so some tough decisions will be waiting after the first month of the season.  By that point, you gotta figure there will be an injured guy or two who can slide right onto the IR without being missed.  We’ll see.

Linebacker

Wagner & Wright are your locks.  Malcolm Smith is looking strong to be the third starter.  Instead of the traditional seven, I think this team has to scrimp here and only keep six.  Undrafted free agent Lotulelei (rookie #7) looks like a strong bet to make the team.  Special teams standout Heath Farwell should be a keeper for all he does in that realm.  And, if I had to guess, I’d say the last guy on the team will be Mike Morgan.  The Seahawks have already waived Korey Toomer once before; I can see them doing it again.  Allen Bradford doesn’t strike me as a guy you just HAVE to have (and, let’s face it, good teams tend to drop good players when they make their final cuts).

Safety

Earl and Kam are your guys here.  Since this team only has five safeties on its roster, and since I’ve only heard of four of these guys, I think it’s pretty obvious who the backups will be.  Winston Guy got some valuable experience last year and is as much of a lock as can be.  Jeron Johnson is the other, and he’s proven to be a solid contributor as well.

Cornerbacks

Sherman & Browner are your guys here.  Consider Winfield to be a lock as your nickel corner.  I like Jeremy Lane, Walter Thurmond (if he can stay healthy) and rookie Tharold Simon (rookie #8) to be solid backups.  That already brings us to six, but for the life of me, I can’t see this team throwing Byron Maxwell away.  He’s been on the team for too long and you know if he goes somewhere else he’ll be competing for starting minutes.  I think the team finds a roster spot for Maxwell and keeps a total of 7 corners.

The Rest

That brings us to 50, with Hauschka, Ryan, and long snapper Clint Gresham as your final guys.

I’m sure as I continue following the goings on in this pre-season portion of the season, this roster will change quite a bit.  But for now, this is my opening statement on what the roster will be.  Let’s see how much it resembles the ACTUAL 53-man roster come opening day.

I will say, as one caveat, that I haven’t accounted for injuries (except for the ones that already happened).  I’m sure a major reason why my roster now will differ from the real 53-man roster in September will have most-everything to do with injuries, and how that trickles down when considering need vs. want at all the positions.

Huskies Beat Trojans As I Lose My God Damned Mind!

Wow.  That game was seriously retarded.

The Dawgs did EVERYTHING to lose that ballgame today.  I mean, I lost count on how many fucking drops the receivers had.  Wide open drops!  Drive killing drops!  Drops forcing us into 3rd and long situations time and time again.  Yet somehow, we did just enough on 3rd down to persevere.  7 for 14 (and 2 for 3 on fourth down).

Want to talk about doing things to lose a ballgame?  How about 290 rushing yards for USC (including 222 for Allen Bradford)?  They made our defense look like an Amsterdam whore house (wide open).  At one point, I don’t know why they didn’t just rush the ball every single play; seriously, it would have worked!  If this was Madden, and I was SC’s coach, I would have pounded the ball every time until they stopped me on consecutive plays (here’s a hint:  it never would have happened).

What saved us was Matt Barkley.  Yeah, you’ll look at his 14 for 19 performance with 179 yards and no turnovers and say, “How did that save us; it doesn’t look that bad.”  But, those 5 incompletions were huge.  They came at critical times, leading to the last two field goal attempts (where they went 1 for 2 in the 2nd half, keeping us in the ballgame).

Jake Locker had a bounce-back game of all bounce-back games.  313 yards passing with a TD; 111 yards rushing with a fumble (which, on replay, looked 50/50 like the ball went out of bounds before it passed the goalline for a USC touchback).  There was a Disaster Moment in the 2nd half though, when Locker QB sneaked his way for a 1st and goal at the 1.  He took a knee to the helmet that knocked him out for the next two plays.  Fortunately for us, the very next play was a TD pass by Keith Price on a nifty little fake-run pass to the tight end.  Unfortunately for us, Keith Price couldn’t replicate that magic on the 2-point conversion.  But, that gave us the lead.

A lead that was subsequently lost on the ensuing field goal.

The subsequent (and aforementioned) missed field goal when USC could have put the game away later on left us with the ball on our 24 yard line with 2 and a half minutes to go.  Drops drops drops led to a 3rd & Long play that resulted in a tough catch in traffic by D’Andre Goodwin to get us to mid-field.  Then, Chris Polk GASHED ’em on a draw play for I want to say 26 yards; Polk had 92 yards rushing to go along with 45 yards receiving on the day with a TD.  That led to us running the clock down to 3 seconds where Erik Folk did what he does:  beats USC on last-second field goals.  Folk was 4 for 4 on the day and was one of many Players Of The Game in a 1-point win.  You gotta throw Locker and Polk in that group as well, but I’m telling you right now, no play was bigger than Goodwin’s catch on the game winning drive.

What looked like a bitter defeat turned into a thrilling conference victory.  Without saying it was a Must Win, this game was pretty much a Must Win.  Brings us to 2-2 (the hard way, as is shown by BYU’s subsequent ass-sucking since week 1), puts us at 1-0 in Pac-10 play, and means we only have to win 4 more games to be Bowl Eligible.

That’s the name of the game at this point:  Bowl Eligibility.  Beating SC puts us a long way towards achieving that goal.