Depth Chart |
It was just a few short years ago when everyone was hailing the
Miami Hurricanes as the greatest team of all time after a dominant
national title season culminating in a blowout over Nebraska in the
2002 Rose Bowl. Just as the place in history appeared a foregone
conclusion with back-to-back titles, Ohio State, a powerhouse
program that hadn't won the national title since 1968, shocked the
world in one of the all-time greatest games to end all talk of
Miami's claim of being the greatest ever.
USC dominated in a blowout national title game, was praised as the
greatest team of all-time, lost in one of the all-time greatest
games to a powerhouse program that hadn't won a national title in
decades. Will USC fall into the land of the way-above average like
Head coach: Pete Carroll
6th year: 54-10
Off. 27, Def. 29, ST 4
Lettermen Lost: 26
Best USC Players
1. WR Dwayne Jarrett, Jr.
2. OT Sam Baker, Sr.
3. DE Lawrence Jackson, Jr.
4. WR Steve Smith, Sr.
5. C Ryan Kalil, Sr.
6. QB John David Booty, Jr.
LB Keith Rivers, Jr.
8. NT Sedrick Ellis, Jr.
9. LB Rey Maualuga, Soph.
10. LB Thomas Williams, Jr.*
*Assuming his knee is healthy
at Washington St
at Oregon State
2005 Record: 12-1
2005 predicted wins
at Arizona St
at Notre Dame
at Washington W
Texas L 41-38
It's not like the
Hurricanes have been bad over the last few seasons, but college football
has a way of making it hard for one team to hang out in the stratosphere
for too long. While big-time programs like Miami and USC simply replace
all-star talent with more all-star talent, it's hard to get every break
needed several years in a row to stay in the national title chase every
What if Cal's Aaron Rodgers didn't air mail his pass through the end
zone in the 2004 classic loss in Los Angeles? What if Matt Leinart
didn't fumble the ball out of bounds on his diving attempt to the end
zone in the win over Notre Dame last year? There's a razor-thin margin
between being 12-0 and 10-2, but can USC's talent overcome fate? It'll
be hard considering USC has to deal with a Spinal Tap drummer array of
maladies from injuries to legal issues to potential scandals.
There isn't a more talented roster in America with a who's who of high
school all-stars brought in by Pete Carroll, but how many of those top
prospects will even play? It's hard to fall too far
when you have the best recruiting class in the country two years in a
row, but there are big things to worry about like the health of
quarterback John David Booty, the issues in the running back corps from
injuries to inexperience, and the loss of most of the key players in the
secondary. Of course, you don't get better when you lose some of the
greatest players in college football history like Matt Leinart and
Reggie Bush along with talents like LenDale White, Winston Justice,
Taitusi Lutui and Darnell Bing.
Even with all the question marks, the Trojans should be in the mix for
yet another national title appearance thanks to great coaching, great
players, and a great schedule that's tailor-made for a championship.
Then again, the same was said about Miami going into the 2004 season.
The Schedule: There
are plenty of tough games, but most of them are at home. While the
opener at Arkansas will be tougher than it might seem, five of the
six road dates are against teams that didn't go bowling last year.
The season finale at UCLA is the exception. Nebraska, Arizona State,
Oregon, Cal and Notre Dame should all flirt with the top 15 this
year and all could tag USC if things aren't clicking, but once
again, all those top teams have to come to L.A. November is a bear
playing Oregon, Cal and Notre Dame.
Offensive Player: Junior WR Dwayne Jarrett. He can do it all with
too much size for most college corners and too much athleticism to
be nullified from a double team. He was the best wide receiver in
America last year, but now he'll have to shine without Matt Leinart
throwing him the ball.
Defensive Player: Junior DE Lawrence Jackson. A bit overshadowed
by all the superstars on the offensive side, Jackson had a fantastic
season making ten sacks and coming up with big play after big play.
Can he shine when he's the focus of every blocking scheme?
Absolutely. He's more than just a pass rushing specialist, but
that's what'll get him All-America recognition.
player to a successful season: Senior OT Kyle Williams and
sophomore OF Chilo Rachal. Throw junior Alatini Malu in the mix, as
well. Much will be made out of the replacements at quarterback and
running back, but there are also some big-time shoes to fill on the
line of the line with Winston Justice and Taitusi Lutui off to the
NFL. The machine could break down in a hurry if Williams, Rachal and
Malu don't shine on the right side.
season will be a success if ... USC plays for the national title.
Would just winning the Pac 10 and going to a BCS game be good enough
at this point? It should be, but the bar is set ridiculously high
after going 54-10 under Pete Carroll and losing two games in three
game: Sept. 2 at Arkansas. The Hogs are much, much better than
they were last year when the Trojans won in a 70-17 laugher. With
all the new starters, USC has to come out roaring to prove to itself
that the mojo is still there. A close shave, or heaven forbid, a
loss to Arkansas would make for a rough two weeks before facing
- Third quarter scoring: USC 178 - Opponents 42
- Third down conversions: USC 92 of 167 (55%) - Opponents 65 of 178
- Punt return average: Opponents 17 yards - USC 8.6 yards
The Last Time USC…
…played in a bowl game…2005 (Rose Bowl vs. Texas)
…missed a bowl game…2000
…pitched a shutout…2004 (Washington)
…was shutout…1997 (Washington)
…scored 50 points…2005 (UCLA)
…won a conference title…2005 (Pac-10)
…had a 3,000-yard passer…2005 (Matt Leinart)
…had a 1,000-yard rusher…2005 (Reggie Bush and LenDale White)
…had a 1,000-yard receiver…2005 (Dwayne Jarrett)
…had a first-round draft choice…2006 (RB Reggie Bush and
QB Matt Leinart)