It was one of those comments that when I first heard it my response was: “That’s absurd.”
The comment was made by Mike Lupica on ESPN’s “The Sports Reporters.” Lupica was trying to make the point that at the end of the day, USC has actually UNDERACHIEVED under Coach Pete Carroll.
**–Carroll has been at USC for a little over eight seasons and has won 90 games.
**–He has won or shared seven straight Pac-10 championships.
**–He’s played in the Rose Bowl five times and the Orange Bowl twice in the past seven years.
**–He shared the national championship in 2003, won it outright in 2004, and was within seconds of winning a third straight title in 2005, but Texas and Vince Young had other ideas.
But since 2005, which I believe was his best team with two Heisman Trophy winners (Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart), USC has killed its chances at a national championship with an inexplicable loss to an unranked team. Let us review:
2006: Was ranked No. 2 and lost to UCLA 13-9 on championship Saturday. Florida went to the BCS title game instead.
2007: Was ranked No. 2 and lost to Stanford, a 41-point favorite, 24-23.
2008: Was ranked No. 1 and lost at Oregon State, 27-21, on an unforgettable Thursday night.
2009: Was ranked No. 3 and lost at Washington, a three-touchdown underdog, 16-15. The week before Washington had snapped a 14-game losing streak.
So what is going on here? Is it a lack of concentration? Do the USC players simply not believe they can lose to these teams and just don’t get ready to play? You could see last week’s loss t Washington coming. The Trojans won a hard-fought (18-15) victory before over 100,000 fans at Ohio State. Freshman QB Matt Barkley led a game-winning drive that propelled him to instant stardom. But Barkley (injury) couldn’t go at Washington, which has been re-energized under new coach Steve Sarkisian, a former Carroll assistant. It was the perfect storm for USC.
I have people tell me that we in the media over-hype USC as the glamour team in college football. Is there something to that?
My buddy Dennis Dodd at CBSSports.com theorizes that we may be watching the beginning of the end for this incredible run by USC. The Trojans have a new quarterback for the second straight year and had to replace nine starters on defense from last season. Is there something to that?
All I know is that for the fourth consecutive year it looks like USC is going to come up one win short of playing for it all and will accept the Rose Bowl as a consolation prize. That’s not bad but for USC fans it has to be getting old.
Is there anything really wrong at USC? Or is this just the nature of college football today? I’m interested in your thoughts.
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