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Postcards from Pasadena: Carroll favors playoff; Evans and the NFL

December 31, 2008 - Cory Giger

Here are some excerpts from USC coach Peter Carroll's press conference Tuesday. I asked him a couple of questions about how his team would stack up against Oklahoma or Florida and about a potential playoff system.

On imagining USC matched up against the national championship competitors:
"I would never back away from any opportunity to play [Florida or Oklahoma]. I think with our defense that we have I think we can beat anybody. I don't have any question in my mind that could happen.
"I think Penn State is just as worthy as all of those teams. There are a half-dozen teams that have had great seasons. What a remarkable experience it would be to go against them and battle it out to see who wins in the end of it. Unfortunately, we don't get to do that. ... We'd love to play anybody, and we think we'd have a chance."

On a playoff system:
"I've advocated the playoff system, following Coach [Paterno]. I don't think any competitor gets to this level would ever want to see it any other way. It's not saying the bowl system isn't great, and I love the traditional matchups. But I still want the issue settled on the playing field, and I wish we could do that.
"I champion the cause whenever we can talk about it. I know Coach [Paterno] has always felt that way, too. I can't imagine people liking to get voted into the championship game. I think you'd like to win and earn your way through it."


In case you missed it last night, here is my take on DE Maurice Evans possibly declaring early for the NFL draft:

I think Evans is a better all-around player than Aaron Maybin right now, and it would not be a surprise to see him leave for the NFL. Evans sounded in Tuesday's interview like he wants to leave. No concrete evidence, just the vibe he was putting out there.
If the NFL advisory committee says second round or better, I think Evans is gone.
I have believed all along Evans would be a first-round pick. He's solid against the run and the pass, while Maybin still needs work against the run.
The marijuana incident cost Evans a shot at another big season, but the scouts know what he's capable of doing.


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