Formula Worked, but Carroll Isn’t Giving BCS a Pass

Times Staff Writer

The bowl championship series formula appeared to work this season, pitting the nation’s only unbeaten teams in the Rose Bowl.

USC Coach Pete Carroll, however, could not resist taking a few pointed shots at the BCS on Friday.

USC, playing in its second consecutive BCS championship game, was denied a chance to play in the title game two years ago despite finishing first in media and coaches’ polls. Computers put USC third in the final BCS standings and the Trojans defeated Michigan in the Rose Bowl to win the Associated Press national title.

Asked during a morning news conference what it meant to the BCS to have a matchup between teams ranked Nos. 1 and 2, Carroll launched into a long, barb-filled answer punctuated with laughter.

Among his ruminations about the BCS:

* “Is it one guy, like the Wizard of Oz kind of thing? Well thanks for the opportunity to speak to the BCS.”


* “It’s just a freakin’ system. Somebody came up with a formula.”

* “It’s a good time, I guess, for those at the party at the BCS house. Can’t you picture them? Where we finally have arrived, and they’re going to enjoy ... it because next year all the chaos could hit once again.”

* “The BCS has been kind of humorous and comical the whole time.”

* “The BCS is what it is. I’d like for them to come talk to me once in a while.”

After the Trojans practiced in the afternoon, Carroll said he was in favor of a playoff system.


Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush is doing anything but taking it easy in what might be his final few practices with the Trojans.

The junior running back, who is expected to announce that he will turn pro sometime after the Rose Bowl, was nearly out of breath after a spirited practice that featured a couple of minor scuffles between players.

“We go all out yelling, screaming, laughing, having fun, fighting each other, doing whatever,” Bush said. “That’s how we practice and that’s how we play too.”

Bush said some fans have taken to calling him “Mr. Heisman.” He sounded sentimental when he said, “I’m enjoying this whole thing right now, my teammates and just everything that’s going on right now.”


Vidal Hazelton, a highly regarded receiver from Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Va., announced that he would attend USC.

NCAA rules forbid coaches from commenting about high school players.

Carroll, speaking generally about recruiting, said he did not know if the contract extension he received earlier this week was affecting the college decisions of high school players. But he said that the Trojans’ efforts were going well.

“You get the real evaluation when everybody gets here eventually,” he said.


Carroll said he would be in favor of moving the Trojans’ opener next season at Arkansas to an earlier date.

A USC official confirmed Thursday that ESPN contacted USC about the possibility of moving its Sept. 9 game.

An earlier game would give USC a break between its opener and a Sept. 16 home game against Nebraska. In 2004 and 2005, the Trojans started the season with long trips and had an open date before their home opener.

“I like the break after the first game,” Carroll said. “You can point to the opener and then move on.”


Linebacker Keith Rivers (hamstring) is on track to start against Texas, Carroll said.... Receiver Whitney Lewis, who suffered a bruised sternum on Wednesday, returned to practice.... Trainers attended to flanker Steve Smith after a hard fall during a receiving drill. Smith did not get up for several moments, but finished the workout and said he had the wind knocked out of him.... As part of their bowl game activities, USC players went bowling in Hollywood on Friday night.