“The U” in USC is Fading…

December 26, 2009 at 2:31 pm (Sports) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

USC as a perennial powerhouse could be a myth this coming decade

The sun is starting to set on USC football this decade, which mirrored “The U” of the 80s in terms of collegiate grandeur and NFL impact.

The storied Trojan football program has relived up to its fabled history, since hiring  HC Pete Carroll that one faithful December day in 2000.

In that one heavily criticized move, then on the hot seat Athletic Director Mike Garrett secured his job and legacy, and USC’s place among the decade’s best. Under the Garrett-Carroll regime, USC has redefined college football excellency in the age of ever-changing coaching carousels. Carroll has brought USC the following during his tenure (Wikipedia):

  • Two BCS Championship Game appearances (win over Oklahoma, and a loss to Texas)
  • Two national championships, including the AP 2003 national championship and the undisputed 2004 national championship.
  • Seven consecutive Associated Press Top-4 finishes
  • A record six BCS bowl victories
  • A record seven consecutive BCS bowl appearances
  • A record seven consecutive years as Pac-10 Champions or Co-Champions
  • A national-record 33 consecutive weeks as AP’s No. 1-ranked team
  • Twenty-five All-American first teamers
  • 53 players selected in the NFL Draft, including 14 in the first round.
  • Three Heisman Trophy winners (Carson Palmer, 2002; Matt Leinart, 2004; Reggie Bush, 2005)
  • Four Top-5 recruiting classes
  • Win streaks for home games (34) and Pac-10 home games (22).
  • In 2007, USC became the first NCAA FBS team to achieve six consecutive 11-win seasons. In 2008, USC added an unprecedented seventh consecutive 11-win season.
  • 28–1 in the month of November
  • Only team in history to win three consecutive Rose Bowl Games

But as the decade comes to a close with USC playing against Boston College in the non-BCS Emerald Bowl, there are major doubts about the future of USC’s perennial dominance not just in the nation, but in their own conference (the Pac-10).

First-year HC Chip Kelly is taking (7) Oregon to new heights as they enter their first Rose Bowl versus (8) Ohio State, since losing to Penn State in the “Granddaddy of Them All” in 1995. Thus, Oregon ends USC’s seven year reign as the Pac-10’s crème de la crème. From the punch felt around the world (i.e. RB LeGarrette Blount vs. DE Byron Hout), to refunding a disappointed alum, HC Kelly has made all the right moves on and off the field for a program seeking a rosy ending to their 2009-2010 campaign.

The Competition: Chip Kelly (Oregon) Jim Harbaugh (Stanford)

Then there’s Stanford’s newly three-year extended HC Jim Harbaugh, whose team upset highly ranked USC in his first year (2007). Just last month, Harbaugh’s team led by Heisman finalist RB Toby Gerhart beat then (7) Oregon and then (11) USC. The sky’s the limit for the (21) Stanford program headed to the Sun Bowl to face another dominant team of the decade, HC Bob Stoops’ Oklahoma Sooners.

A more troubling issue for USC is the recent influx of scandals and rumors, with the only saving grace being RB Stafon Johnson’s miraculous recovery from an unforeseen weightlifting accident.

Nevertheless, all eyes are on USC, more so outside the lines than within the field of play.

The luster began to wear off when the Texas Longhorns, led by the multi-talented QB Vince Young, defeated the USC Trojans in a Rose Bowl for the ages. From then on USC won three consecutive Rose Bowls beating each opponent by at least two touchdowns.

However, allegations of RB Reggie Bush receiving improper financial benefits crept into the national spotlight, taking time and space from the victories.

Now, as Pete Carroll finishes his 9th year at USC, rumors of his alleged affair with a graduate student, according to rival Notre Dame’s former HC Charlie Weis, have taken more press. And USC RB Joe McKnight’s “car troubles” only further taints the program’s Tinsel Town prestige.

In short, USC’s big stage presence is giving way to the behind the scenes, rather than the actual play of the team.

But a return to its winning ways could save HC Carroll, AD Garrett, and the football program.

As I said once to a NCAA football assistant coach, “When you lose, they call it problems. When you win, they call it adversity. Just keep on winning.”

–The Journalist



  1. Stafon Johnson Accepts Invite to Senior « Phresh Graffiti said,

    […] senior season with the Trojans abruptly ended after a weight bar crushed his throat in […]

  2. USC HC Pete Carroll is Headed to Seattle « Phresh Graffiti said,

    […] Mora, Jr. got the boot, in order to hire Pete Carroll. USC is not the same anymore. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)PETE CARROL LEAVING USC FOR THE NFL SEATTLE […]

  3. USC RB Joe McKnight Enters NFL Draft « Phresh Graffiti said,

    […] he’s joining the mass exodus that is going on at USC. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Not Your Average […]

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