NEW YORK - These are troubling times for Texas and Southern California. Eight seasons after the Longhorns and Trojans played one of the greatest games in college football history for the national championship in the Rose Bowl, they now appear to be in crisis.
After ugly losses Saturday night, both dropped out of the AP Top 25 on Sunday, yet another indignity for two proud programs searching for answers.
The Longhorns (1-1) were stomped 40-21 by BYU. The Cougars ran for 550 yards, the most ever allowed by Texas. And this coming on the heels of last season when the Texas defense was one of the worst in school history, a mess of missed tackles and blown assignments.
The debacle at BYU led Texas coach Mack Brown to fire defensive coordinator Manny Diaz on Sunday and replace him with former Texas defensive coordinator Greg Robinson.
"Our performance on defense last night was unacceptable, and we need to change that," Brown said.
Everybody around the Texas program has acknowledged this is an important season for the Longhorns and Brown, who is in his 16th season in Austin. He's won a national title and been one of the most successful coaches in the country. But the past three seasons Texas is 23-17.
USC (1-1), coming off a season in which the Trojans went from preseason No. 1 to unranked, looks helpless offensively and Trojans fans are blaming fourth-year coach Lane Kiffin after a 10-7 loss at home to Washington State.
As Texas was futilely trying to stop one bunch of Cougars on Saturday night, USC was struggling to even get a first down against another. Fans of each team raged on social media.
There is plenty of season left for Brown and Kiffin to turn it around. The Longhorns play No. 25 Ole Miss at home on Saturday. The Trojans face Boston College. But there was no denying Saturday night felt like a tipping point for the current regimes at Texas and USC.
The conventional wisdom about Michigan this season was the Wolverines are a next-year team, talented but with many underclassmen and few key seniors. Michigan's 41-30 victory against Notre Dame not only jumped the Wolverines six spots in the rankings to No. 11, but it also hinted the future might be now in Ann Arbor. Devin Gardner, with four touchdown passes and a TD run, fits offensive coordinator Al Borges' system better than Denard Robinson ever did, and those youthful Wolverines now have a few weeks of winnable games (Akron, at UConn and Minnesota) to grow up for what could be an interesting second half of the season.
No. 21 Notre Dame and No. 13 South Carolina both dropped seven spots after losing the week's biggest games. The Gamecocks were beaten 41-30 at Georgia. The Fighting Irish and Gamecocks ranked seventh and 11th in the nation, respectively, in total defense last season and feature some of the best defensive linemen in the country, most notably South Carolina's Jadeveon Clowney and Notre Dame's Derrick Nix. Despite the big names, both units have work to do. "We're struggling on defense," South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said. "It's sort of sad watching."
Miami is ranked for the first time since November 2010. The Hurricanes jumped all the way to No. 15 after beating Florida 21-16. The Gators slipped six spots to No. 18. The big win and return to the rankings represents a turning point for Miami in coach Al Golden's third season. The 'Canes are 15-11 under Golden, but have yet to go to the postseason, thanks to a self-imposed ban the school put in place as punishment for the improper benefits investigation that the NCAA has yet to rule on. Until that cloud lifts, Golden's rebuilding efforts at Miami will be stunted.
No. 25 Mississippi also moved into the poll, the first time it has been ranked since the final 2009 poll.
From the Archives
No. 5 Stanford and South Carolina both reached 50 consecutive AP poll appearances, school records for each. The Gamecocks and Cardinal are tied for fifth among active streaks, behind No. 1 Alabama (81), No. 8 LSU (67), No. 2 Oregon (63) and No. 14 Oklahoma (51). ... Florida, Florida State and Miami are all ranked for the first time since Oct. 3, 2010.