Oregon State did it right from the very beginning.
The Beavers didn't trick up their gameplan to face No.1 USC on Thursday night in Corvallis. Instead, Oregon State went right at the Trojans defense, pounding away at them with the help of Texas native Jacquizz Rodgers, daring them to do something.
And USC couldn't.
Oregon State (2-2, 1-1) - a 25-point underdog - held on to topple the Trojans 27-21, shaking up the top 10 rankings, the BCS and putting another major dent in the USC (2-1, 0-1) mystique.
This game just continues a pattern that began in 2007, when the top 10 rankings were jolted on a weekly basis by shocking upsets. There's no reason to expect that to change, especially with this weekend's games and others looming in the coming weeks like OU-Texas.
If you're a fan of Oklahoma, Florida, Georgia or Missouri, Thursday's result simply clears one team out of your way, but in the big picture does very little in terms of national title hopes. All four schools still have to survive playing in the Big 12 and SEC, which are the two toughest conferences in the country this year. Do good there, and conference championships loom the first week in December.
The biggest questions that loom from this game are with the Trojans. Are they a good team? Sure. Oustanding? Hardly. Outstanding teams don't lose these games, and certainly don't trail 21-0 like the Trojans did at halftime on Thursday. This is the third straight year USC has now lost a game it should've won handily. Go back to 2006, when it last lost to Oregon State in Corvallis 33-31, then there was last year's 24-23 loss at home to Stanford (a 41-point underdog).
What you saw on Thursday night was a USC team that was all hype, and no substance. Once again, ESPN and other national media outlets rolled out their Trojan hype machine in the preseason, and with Don King-like gusto, proclaimed USC to be superior to everyone else in the college football universe. A model of perfection. All that was missing were ludicrous comparisons to Tom Osborne's Nebraska teams in the late 1990s, or the Miami Hurricanes during their glory days.
Those teams became legendary because they beat the teams they were supposed to.
As they showed again on Thursday, that's something USC struggles with.