As I sat in the press box at Autzen Stadium on Saturday night, watching -- no, marveling -- at what Chip Kelly's Oregon Ducks were doing to USC, I kept trying to think if I'd ever seen a team go from such a low as where they were at the start of the season to what they have become just a few months later.
And by early Sunday morning, I'm still searching.
In 2006, Cal got blown off the field at Tennessee in its first game, then won eight straight and reached No. 8. (The Bears then lost two in a row.) But they never reached this high, never putting on a show like the Ducks did Saturday night, dominating USC like no one had even come close to doing since Pete Carroll took over the Trojans. The last time someone whupped the Trojans like Oregon did Saturday night, USC really wasn't, well, USC. After all, this is the USC that has won an unprecedented seven Pac-10 titles in a row and had won 10 straight against ranked opponents; they hadn't been beaten by more than 11 points in the Pete Carroll era. To go back to the last time a Carroll team got beaten by a bigger margin, you'd have to go back to Nov. 8, 1998, when the Atlanta Falcons blasted his New England Patriots 41-10, but I'm pretty sure even that game wasn't as resounding as this was.
This was Oregon gashing USC, which had -- had! -- the nation's fifth-ranked run defense, for 392 rushing yards. (USC had already beaten three teams that are currently in the Top 25 -- Ohio State, Cal and Notre Dame, all on the road -- and those three only combined for almost 150 fewer rushing yards than the Ducks got on the Trojans.)
To see more of Bruce's thoughts about Oregon's rise -- and some of his Heisman selections, weird stats from Saturday, his views on Texas and much more -- you must be an ESPN Insider.