LOS ANGELES -- Call it "Validation Night" in South Bend.
Saturday's game took all those uneasy USC question marks and turned them into glittering cardinal and gold exclamation points.
This one proved Lane Kiffin is a bright young coach who, even with all those sanctions, has a program on the rise. It proved a maturing Matt Barkley can, indeed, win a big game on the road. It proved to the rest of the nation what we already knew -- that the spectacular Robert Woods is one of the two or three best college wide receivers in America.