Bless the University of Texas Longhorns. Bless them.
I know everyone's abuzz about Vince Young's knee being down before the lateral that turned into a Selvin Young touchdown in the second quarter, and how that shouldn't have counted. But the way I see it, they were knocking on the door already; Vince had a first down before he made that pitch. If the play had been reviewed and overturned right there, Texas would've been first-and-10 at the 11, and probably would've scored shortly thereafter. And probably on a bunch of running plays, which really eat up clock time. So really, USC should be grateful that the officials didn't review it and in fact counted the touchdown, because it gave the Trojans significantly more time on the clock to try and mount a drive of their own. Right? Yeah!
I was so happy to see Texas win. Great defense, and a shockingly spry offense that managed to elude tackles even though everyone knew who the primary threat was. I thought the team would expose more cracks in Matt Leinart's talent than it did -- although he, in that final play, made pretty big errors. In fact, I would argue that he blew the game for his team, after having played relatively well throughout. With eight seconds left and no time-out remaining to take, he scrambled around looking for a guy downfield and burned up the rest of the clock running around and pump-faking. But he really should have only spent about four seconds on that, realized the coverage was aces, and thrown the ball away so that he'd have three or four more seconds to take another snap. That's bad game management.
But I do think I misjudged his post-game comments. Because I don't care for USC and how smug the coaches and athletes always are -- including during the Rose Bowl when they had a lead -- I tend to want to assume the worst. So initially I thought Leinart was a rude douchebag for saying, post-game, "I still think we're the better team -- they just made the plays and won the game." Yeah, maybe that wasn't the most intelligent comment, but I realized afterward that the guy is, although 21 or 22, still just a kid -- and a kid that has, to his credit I suppose, no experience with losing any game, big or small, since 2003. He probably had absolutely no clue what to say and just tried to blurt out something complimentary and supportive of his team, and didn't mean for it to come out assy (and, if I'm being REALLY honest, it wasn't really even assy so much as it was nonsensical). In fact, the words "it was a hard-fought win" slipped out also, before he could even stop them, and he had to correct himself. That made me laugh. But I also found out that he and Reggie Bush apparently went into the UT locker room after the game to congratulate the Longhorns, which is what's prompting me to give him a pass and actually say something nice about him. I thought going into the Longhorns' locker room was a nice show of sportsmanship and it's not something they themselves are publicizing, which is another reason I respect the gesture.
[It's a little move, by the way, that I think they picked up from Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis, who to the Trojans' shock went into their locker room after they beat ND in October and offered up his congratulations for a game well played, and said how much he admired their grit and their talent. He's classy.]
But, I still think Leinart is overrated. And I still cherished seeing Pete Carroll's smug grin wiped off his face. I desperately wanted ND to break the streak, but since they didn't, this was plenty sweet enough. I'm SO on top of the world that USC didn't get its bogus third-consecutive national championship (hello, SC only has one, not two -- two years ago it did not win the national championship; it merely finished No. 1 in the AP poll, a fact that only the New York Times and one ESPN columnist has dared to point out to the slobbering media). It kills me that USC is every bit as talented as it thinks it is, but it was nice to see Texas prove that USC doesn't own the world.