CHRIS DUFRESNE / COLLEGE FOOTBALL MAILBAG

Little annoyances could add up to big trouble for USC

Either way, El Paso or San Antonio, you're in for some good Mexican food.

Q: Was it a blowout as Oregon fans are calling it, or a game of missed chances as USC fans say?

Michael Castillo

A: I watched the game on replay and never thought for one second Oregon was going to lose. I can't even remember USC having the ball with a chance to win. The Trojans cut the lead to three a couple of times, but their defense could never stop Oregon long enough to set up any drama.

The final score was 62-51, but USC tacked on a meaningless touchdown with one second left. So it was really a 17-point spread, which seems about right.

Forget what USC's offense did to Oregon's defense. Being the defensive coordinator at Oregon with that offense must be a nightmare. Oregon's offense is so lethal and scores so fast it barely gives the Ducks' defense time to rest.

Louisiana Tech offensive coordinator Tony Franklin told me recently he thought Oregon's Nick Aliotti was the best defensive coordinator in the country, given what he has to work with.

I'm going to give Oregon's defense a mulligan. This is the same unit that shut out Arizona, 49-0. USC also has to be a prolific offense with NFL talent all over the field in Matt Barkley, Marqise Lee and Robert Woods.

USC has far more systemic problems on defense, namely the proven inability to stop all these spread-option teams that are infiltrating the Pac-12.

Q: Who would you pick between 'Bama and Oregon on a neutral field? Do not dodge this question, sir!

Dexter Fishmore

A: I haven't played dodgeball since sixth grade. But what's your definition of a neutral field?

Is the Superdome a neutral field for Louisiana State when it plays in the Sugar Bowl? What about Soldier Field for Notre Dame?

For argument's sake, let's schedule our mythical Alabama vs. Oregon game in Tulsa. This may shock you, given my West Coast bent, but I'm generally with the boys in Las Vegas who see Alabama as a six-to-seven-point favorite.

That doesn't mean Oregon couldn't win.

It gives me duck bumps, though, just thinking of this possible matchup.

It's somewhat similar to Oregon vs. Auburn two years ago, with this difference: Oregon's offense is better than it was then and Alabama's defense is better than Auburn's in 2010.

People in the South think Auburn beat Oregon by 100 points to win the BCS title. It was actually 22-19, on a last-second field goal.

I would envision something similar with Alabama-Oregon, but LSU's No. 74 offense gaining 435 yards on Alabama last week should give Crimson Tide fans some pause.

We need Alabama-Oregon to settle the argument. I've never seen anything like this Oregon offense, and only a game against Alabama would prove whether it should be ranked among the greatest in college football history.

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