Longhorns, Bears must recover quickly

Originally Published: October 13, 2004
By Todd McShay | Scouts, Inc.
Motivating college athletes to maintain a similar level of intensity in preparation of and during each and every game is one of biggest challenges for a college football coach. The "little guys" aren't so little anymore and any letdown can literally wreck an entire season. Some teams are walking into particularly dangerous minefields this week.

Trap games

Arizona State at USC
Pete Carroll
Pete Carroll was relieved to get past Cal; now he must avoid a letdown against Arizona State.
It's no coincidence the first two "trap games" on this list involve USC and Cal. "Showdown Saturday" lived up to the enormous hype, and no game last weekend was more emotionally draining than the one played in Southern California. Now USC coach Pete Carroll faces the unenviable challenge of revving up his squad for another big game.

It is a game with just as many implications as last week's, but Carroll's team won't take the Sun Devils as seriously. The question is how long it will take the Trojans to flip on the switch in this game? The way undefeated Arizona State has been playing, it better not take too long.

The Sun Devils have a chance to pull off the upset. Just like Aaron Rodgers a week ago, QB Andrew Walter has the weapons to neutralize the USC pass rush and the accuracy to pick its secondary apart with a lot of short throws.

While ASU gives up a lot of size against the run, it has an underrated defense. If QB Matt Leinart doesn't play better than he did a week ago, when he completed 15 of 25 passes for just 164 yards, the Trojans could get knocked off their horse on Saturday.

Todd McShay

ESPN Senior Writer