I apologize for the lack of posting over the past week. A couple of work related things (all good) and couple of projects at home that I needed to finish up kept me out of the game. I hope to get back on schedule this week, thanks for your patience. - Paragon
(Ed. Note - I started writing this right before the whole Mayo mess broke so I am circling back now to finish it up with newer information.)
Brian Grummell over at the FanHouse had a pretty good read a while back about USC and the NFL Draft.
Anyway, while flipping through this week's The Sporting News, there was a blip inside about the boys from Troy- - - The NFL already has a team in L.A. It's USC. Seven former Trojans were drafted during the first two rounds. How did USC lose two games last season? - - -
I've been scratching my head the last two years trying to figure that out. It's just one writer but he's expressing something I think a decent number of pundits may eventually be asking about USC if they have another 10-win season with the kind of talent they've amassed while riding on the legacy of the 2003 (yes, that did happen LSU fans) and 2004 title teams
That is of course a valid question.
USC surged to the top of the heap with lightning speed and they have been in the mix ever since. Some of the praise they earned was well justified but the whole ESPN/Best Team Ever thing was way off the mark. That discussion should never have taken place; maybe if they had beat Texas we could have had that discussion but not before.
Clearly, USC was on the cusp of greatness and had they beat Texas there is no question that SC would have been the unquestioned standard for many years to come in college football. Looking back on the previous two seasons two games stand out, ucla in 2006 and Stanford in 2007. Knowing what we know now it is very possible that had SC won both of those games there was an excellent chance they would played for two more National Championships.
With that in mind the question has been raised numerous times about SC underachieving and that question came up again this week over on Rivals.
Since 2002, USC has finished with the top recruiting class three times (2004, '05, '06), finished second once ('07) and third once ('03). The Trojans finished out of the top three just twice: this year (eighth) and in '02 (13th). That's an extraordinary recruiting run.
USC (70-8) also has won the most games in that time frame. Ohio State (66-11) and Oklahoma (66-15) are tied for second in wins, and LSU (65-15) and Texas (65-12) are tied for fourth.
I think what's really interesting is that the top three teams in the Rivals.com cumulative team rankings since '02 are USC, Florida and LSU, and they have combined to win four BCS titles since 2002 (USC also was voted No. 1 in the AP poll once). The other two BCS titlists have been Texas (seventh in the rankings) and Ohio State (11th).
Pete Carroll has amassed a ton of talent over the years and for the most part those players have produced. Questions have been raised about not being able to win without Norm Chow and the running of the offense with Kiffin/Sarkisian, the lack of a special teams coach and the general hunger to go out and win the games that they are supposed to win. Outside of Chow’s departure I think the attention to detail in regards to the other reasons listed is valid but it is hardly a condemnation of the program.
Once again SC is favored to win the BCS. Whether or not it actually happens is of course another matter but once again SC is in the discussion and there aren’t a lot of schools tat can make that claim year in and year out. SC gets the attention because they always play a tough out of conference schedule and this year is no different. Say what you want about Pete Carroll his attitude is infectious and he gets his players to play. Yes, mistakes are made and opportunities are missed but you take the good with the bad.
Of course a lot has been made about the lack of production that a number of USC players have had at the NFL level. To me it’s immaterial; there are plenty of players from a number of programs that have never lived up to the hype at the next level. That there are a higher number of USC players only says that SC still recruits and gets a higher number of the better players than other programs do, it really is as simple as that. This supposed lack of production in the NFL is hardly an indictment of Pete Carroll and his system.
Here is a little more from the Rivals article:
I don't care who you are or what conference you play in, it's tough to recruit and win like this for a few seasons. To sustain a run like this is extraordinary.
There's no denying Pete Carroll has built something special at USC. He is a great coach who has had a great staff, and many of his assistants have moved on to better opportunities. That's what happens when you win the way USC has. Carroll also happens to be one of the best, if not the best, recruiters in terms of head coaches.
There aren’t too many other teams that even come close to what Pete Carroll has done. That some would point to this supposed lack of production just shows their bias towards SC, how many of those root for programs that haven’t done squat?