By DAN WEBER
Pete Carroll was finishing his weekly conference call Sunday evening, and not a single BCS question had been asked -- not even about his No. 6 Trojans' chance to move up with just games against Notre Dame and UCLA remaining.
"That's the way I think it should be," Coach Carroll said with a laugh, on a weekend when the only changes came at the bottom of the BCS top 25, with both Oregon State (21) and Oregon (24) earning spots.
Asked for one more BCS observation, Carroll came up with one USC fans could take to heart.
"It seems like the SEC gets a lot of credit for stuff," he said. "But I don't think we've lost to them in a long time."
But as Carroll pointed out about his own accomplishments, it's not the many wins, but rather the few losses that really matter.
"Looking back, there are three or four games, if we'd won them, it would have made an enormous difference" in putting the Trojans "ahead of the pack," Carroll said of having gone 85-15 at USC, the winningest mark of any coach with at least five years in college football.
In Carroll's 100th game, Saturday's 45-23 romp over Stanford, the switch to a run-first philosophy in the second half made all the difference.
"We really did run the ball," Carroll said. "We ran the heck out of it."
But what about all those early passes?
"Just the first 12 plays," Carroll said. They were scripted and gave USC a chance "to put the ball out on the perimeter" and see how Stanford would react.
The problem, Carroll said, was simple: "When you don't get first downs ..."
Stanford didn't have to spend much time reacting since USC was forced to give the ball up.
Finally, Carroll said, he turned to offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian and said, "Let's get it done."
Which is pretty much what USC's linemen and running backs had been asking for through a first half in which the Trojans were limited to 39 yards on the ground. Did Carroll listen to them?
"No, not really," he said.
Carroll also said he had no problem with the two-timeout, point-counterpoint between him and Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh in the final seconds, which resulted in the Cardinal scoring on an 18-yard pass at the buzzer.
But Carroll wasn't about to second-guess anything that happened. He said he called his own timeout "because we had too many players on the field" when Stanford first went from a field-goal try to a regular play.
Don't make too much of it, Carroll said. Harbaugh was just trying to get points on the board.
"He did the right thing," Carroll said.
Published: Monday, November 17, 2008