In his most recent column breaking down the NBA's MVP race, Bill Simmons argued that the trio of Carmelo Anthony, Lebron James, and Dwayne Wade might be "the most important sports rivalry of this generation."
He might be right, and basketball is probably the sport best suited for individual rivalries to develop. But... the article got me thinking about this year's trio of collegiate football stars - Bush, Young, and Leinart.
The rivalry started the moment Texas beat Ohio State last September and the Horns moved in to consensus #2 and chief rival to the Greatest Football Team Ever According to ESPN. We certainly did our part here, talking as much smack as possible and generally tormenting anything and everything USC. The rivalry officially blossomed with the greatest college football game of all time, and has now managed to stay alive as everyone quarrels over who should be drafted first in the NFL draft.
With Young and Leinart potentially leading teams as quarterbacks, and Bush's potential to be a game-changing player, I won't be shocked if this isn't the last time we've seen this rivalry.
Football, though, is so different from basketball; it's far less suited to the development of individual rivalries. In the cases they do occur, though, it's usually pitted as a battle of quarterbacks. For what it's worth, I hope that Leinart-Young is a rivalry we get to enjoy for years to come...
In other news, I watched the Rose Bowl from start to finish on television for the first time on Saturday night. Loyal reader and frequent commenter Wells, along with his fiance Leslie, were kind enough to invite a gaggle of Horns fans over for some brisket and a watching of the Rose Bowl.
A few points:
- It's simply -amazing- that we got so worked up about various plays, despite knowing the outcome of the game. When Leinart zipped that last USC touchdown to Dwayne Jarrett, I was, quite literally, dejected. I continually yelled at the referees, questioned moves we were making, and generally acted like a clown. If you haven't done this yet, do so soon. Tremendous fun.
- Now -that- is why I thought the Texas would take Young with the first pick. The next time you're not sure, watch the Rose Bowl again. Freaking ridiculous. Just unbelievable. Reggie Bush is great, but Vince Young... there aren't words for it. How can you not take him #1? Bah, what do I know...
- One of our favorite hobbies is picking on Matt Leinart, but he was awfully tough in the Rose Bowl. He made two or three really bad throws (most notably the floater that Michael Griffin picked off), but was otherwise tremendous. The aforementioned pass to Jarrett was devastating.
- Pete Carroll did -not- have a good Rose Bowl. As mentioned in a post earlier today, CFR thinks Carroll is a genius of a coach, even praising him for getting a "banged up" USC defense to hold Texas to 26 points for most of the game. CFR may want to watch the Rose Bowl again. Carroll totally botched the last USC series when they were trying to run out the clock. The screen pass to the fullback was a huge mistake. And leaving Bush on the sidelines for 4th and 2 was a huge mistake. And Texas was giving away points far more than USC was slowing down the Horns. A missed field goal, a missed extra point, Aaron Ross's boneheaded fumble on the punt. Jamaal Charles simply fumbling without being touched. Same for Ramonce Taylor. It was just weird. Pete Carroll didn't shut us down. We played B+ football, which accounted for 26 points. Then Vince took over. Saying that Carroll limited Texas is just revisionism.
- As mentioned, we gave away 4 points in the kicking game. How many did we give away last year? Somebody counted it, I recall. What did we miss, like 15 extra points? Just silly. Also: someone was saying at this party that we signed a kicker to a scholarship. To which I say: finally. It's been just short of a disaster since Phil Dawson left. No, I didn't like Dusty Mangum, Michigan heroics aside.