USC should never have let Emmanuel Moody transfer to UF.
At first glance, it seems like an OK deal for the Trojans. They never play the Gators and Gainesville is almost as far away from Southern California as you can get in Division I college football.
But USC failed to look at the big picture.
We sometimes refer to Southern Cal as USC West, so as not to confuse the school with South Carolina, aka USC East.
But the real USC East isn't in Columbia, S.C., it's in Gainesville.
Urban Meyer's Gators are right on the heels of USC as King of the Hill in college football.
Moody won't suit up for UF until 2008, but he provides the Gators with a reliable all-purpose running back, the one thing that has eluded them in recent years.
The fact that he went from USC to UF because of playing time tells you all you need to know about Moody's opinion of Kestahn Moore.
So while I realize the Trojans will hardly realize Moody is gone - their depth chart at running back is more jammed than a Los Angeles freeway during rush hour - the tailback's transfer provides a shift of power in UF's favor.
Even if the Gators do have a down year this season - which for them would still likely mean a bowl game on New Year's Day - they will probably be one of the favorites to win it all in 2008.
In the coming years, USC and UF will be the teams to watch in college football, an East-West rivalry of bragging rights.
Because while the two squads may not meet on the field barring a national championship clash or at least a major bowl game, they are going to be competing for high-profile recruits, and more importantly, BCS berths.
Remember who almost kept UF out of the national title game last year? USC had to implode against UCLA or else it would have been the one-loss Trojans, not the one-loss Gators basking in the desert glory.
It's not like the Trojans have a policy of letting potential transfers go wherever they want. Numerous sources have reported that USC will not grant a release to Jamere Holland, who is also transferring from USC, should he choose to go to another Pac-10 school. With Moody, the issue was moot because he wasn't considering other Pac-10 schools, but I can only assume the same stipulation would have been in order.
What effect would Moody or Holland have on USC if they transferred to another Pac-10 school? USC would defeat Oregon 50-28 instead of 50-17?
Ask Meyer and Pete Carroll what the key to success in college football is, and I guarantee you'll get the same answer: recruiting.
The two schools may be thousands of miles apart geographically, but they often meet up along the recruiting trail. Here are just a few of the names UF and USC have competed for in the past two years: Percy Harvin, Tim Tebow, Stafon Johnson, Vidal Hazelton, James Wilson and Deonte Thompson.
This list of players is enough to make recruiting junkies salivate. Obviously these guys were looking at other schools as well, but the point is that UF and USC often compete for the same players.
The last two years, USC and UF have sat atop the recruiting rankings, with everyone else a distant third.
In terms of the long run, that isn't likely to change anytime soon.
While Meyer's last two classes have surpassed Carroll's in terms of quantity, USC has, by popular opinion, brought in better quality.
But take Moody out of USC's 2006 class and add him to UF's, and things begin to get just a tiny bit hazier.
The Trojans have to remember that only one team can win a national title in a given season.
If you are going to be a national title contender, why give another title contender the ability to improve itself?
If Moody is as good as people think, he could turn out to be the missing piece that takes Meyer's offense to a scary level.
If that happens, USC might wish Moody had just transferred to a Pac-10 school.