Some football games are just hard to watch, and as I left USC’s 45-20 victory over Fresno State in the 2013 Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl before the fourth quarter began, I drove away wondering if both programs had actually just really hurt themselves.
Don't Miss: The Best HDR TVs
Normally during bowl season, despite the fact that there are far too many bowl games for my tastes, many schools still embrace the opportunity to participate because it creates potential exposure and visibility that they otherwise wouldn’t receive if not for the bowl game…no matter how inconsequential the bowl game may be. That’s partly because even the inconsequential bowl games still get good ratings.
But Fresno State, and in particular their much-heralded quarterback Derek Carr, did a disservice to their program and to their conference’s reputation in getting pasted by the Trojans. The Bulldogs looked outmatched throughout the majority of the game, and Mr. Carr – listed on Mel Kiper’s NFL Draft board as the top quarterback in the 2014 draft – overthrew open receivers on at least 3 separate occasions and otherwise looked less than dominant.
Not only did Fresno State hurt their credibility with future recruits with their lackluster play on Saturday, but it hurt the conference’s credibility as well. And in the future college playoff system, losses like this will make voters further question the veracity of team’s coming out of the Mountain West.
So how did USC hurt their reputation? Well, quite simply, they won without class.
Let me repeat…they won without class.
On numerous occasions in the first half as the Trojans started piling up points, they were engaging in what could best be described as group mocking demonstrations…waving across the field to the Bulldogs’ sideline, imitating dances that the Bulldog players had been doing in pre-game, and otherwise just acting like a team that had not been there and done that.
I don’t care how much turmoil the Trojans’ program incurred this year, you don’t act like a bunch of unaccomplished morons when you – the USC Trojans – whoop up on Fresno State. Fresno State.
I realize that there was a fair degree of familiarity between players on both teams given that many of them have high school ties to California football. But again, a program on the mend reputationally such as USC needs to show more common sense.
Bowl games usually are good for schools, especially smaller non-marquee schools, in terms of exposure and marketing.
But Fresno State did not confer such benefits upon their program or conference in light of their inferior performance on Saturday, and USC did several things to show that the program still has a ways to go before exuded the class that athletic director Pat Haden wants them to portray.
Patrick is an Economics Professor at the George Herbert Walker School of Business and Technology at Webster University in St Louis, MO, and the Founder/Director of Sportsimpacts. Follow him on Twitter.
Don't Miss: Incredible Pokemon Gifts