When Matt Leinart was shoved into the end zone for the game-winning touchdown on Saturday, USC celebrated a major step toward its third straight national championship.
The Trojans, however, were the second team of the day to see a door to the BCS title game swing open in front of them. When Notre Dame's Brady Quinn had reached the opposite end zone on the possession prior to Leinart's TD, the Texas Longhorns may have gotten all the help they'll need to reach Pasadena for a second straight season -- this time to play for all the marbles.
Just a few hours earlier, the outlook for Texas had not been so rosy. Faced with the knowledge that schedule weakness could downgrade them in the BCS computers all season, there was a lot of pressure on the Longhorns to sustain momentum in the human polls by performing at a high level on the field. As I mentioned in this column last week, Texas needs to keep its poll points closer to No. 1 USC than to No. 3 Virginia Tech.