USC had won 28 consecutive November games under Pete Carroll since he became coach in 2001, many of them by huge margins.
Then came Saturday's 55-21 bludgeoning to the hands of Stanford, the most points ever given up by a Trojan team.
Make no mistake: Jim Harbaugh was intent on running up the score. After Toby Gerhart steamrolled his way to the Cardinal's seventh touchdown and 48-21 lead with 6:47 to play, Harbaugh decided to go for two — probably because he couldn't go for three.
The attempt failed, but Stanford tacked on one more score with its second-team offense against the Trojan first-team defense.
When Carroll and Harbaugh met at midfield for the postgame handshake, their conversation was brief, and according Ray Ratto of the San Francisco Chronicle, pointed and seemingly unsatisfying:
"What's your deal? What's your deal?" Carroll said, according to two sources near enough to hear.
"What's your deal?" Harbaugh retorted, and that was that.
Carroll, when asked about Stanford's try for two, said: "I don't know what they were thinking with that."
Harbaugh offered this: "I thought it was an opportunity, the way we were coming off the ball, the way our players were playing — that it was the right thing to do."
Harbaugh, of course, will probably be gone from Stanford in a few months, although his boss, athletic director Bob Bowlsby, promises that he will have a new deal for his coach "soon."
But Harbaugh, whose brother John is the coach of the Baltimore Ravens, wants to coach an NFL team. He'll likely get his shot this offseason.
Thanks to Image of Sport.