USC Is Clearly the Greatest

After the national title game where USC failed to win its SECOND consecutive national title, it is clear that USC is one of the greatest 2nd or 3rd ranked teams in the history of college football.

Consider this, how far must you look back to find a non-championship team with a first round QB and two first round running backs in the backfield? One month? Two months? No, you have to go all the way back to 2004. That’s right, a full TWELVE months. Further, to find a team that didn’t win the national title who scored like USC during the regular season, you need to go all the way back to 2003 for the OU Sooners. What about winning streak? How many years must you go back to match USC’s 34 game winning streak? One year, two years? Hardly, you have to go back THREE years. That’s pretty amazing, huh?

So where does that put the 2005 Trojan’s? As you know, prior to the Rose Bowl, ESPN tried to find USC’s place in history among national title winners. Since they finished second, its time to take a look at how USC would stack up against some of the greatest runners-up in college football history. In a tip of the hat to ESPN, we’ll stick to teams that are part of the “greatest� decade, that is, the decade when the word “greatest� become the only positive adjective that sportscasters use.

2001 Florida Gators – (final rank – #3) Considered by Spurrier to be one of his best, if not the best, teams. UF lost two games by a total of 5 points – both without their starting tailback Ernest Graham. Note: Nebraska played in the BCS title game in what was until 2003, the biggest BCS debacle.

2002 Miami Hurricanes – (final rank – #2) 34 game win streak came to an end in the Fiesta Bowl. Ken Dorsey led a talented offense that included Frank Gore, Willis McGahee, Kellen Winslow, and Andre Johnson. The defense was loaded with star power.

2003 USC Trojans (final rank – #2) – In Leinhart’s first season as a starter, he led the Trojan’s through what was their most dominating season of the last three years. Unlike 2004 and 2005, the Trojan’s only had one close call – an overtime loss to Cal.

2003 OU Sooners (final rank – #3) – This team was loaded with talent and so impressive in the regular season as to be named the “greatest team of all timeâ€? by many sports writers.

2004 Auburn Tigers (final rank – #2) – Dominant offense with perhaps the two best running back prospects ever to share a backfield. Matched the offense with the #1 scoring defense in the country.

2005 OSU Buckeyes (final rank – #4) – After a dominating performance over the other media love child – Notre Dame, still somehow ranked below a Penn St. team that needed three overtimes to beat a twenty something ranked FSU team with no offensive line. Once they chose a QB, this team was as good as anybody. Only losses to #1 and #3 teams. Probably the best defense in the country in 2005.

Where does 2005’s USC team fit in this group?


14 Responses to USC Is Clearly the Greatest

  1. Class of '74 01/05/2006 at 1:01 PM #

    The correct answer is playoff. Sitting here surmising over who was best this year or that year is just that, SURMISING.

  2. VaWolf82 01/05/2006 at 1:19 PM #

    The main advantage that I see to a playoff is that Notre Dame would have to earn their way in just like every other team.

  3. Jim 01/05/2006 at 1:27 PM #

    I’m with you VaWolf82.

  4. Julie 01/05/2006 at 1:39 PM #

    You know that played long a hard and it was a great game. I am very pround of the team and will for ever love them!!!! FIGHT ON!!!

  5. BJD95 01/05/2006 at 1:42 PM #

    Amen to Jim and VaWolf. Also, I would have liked Ohio State’s chances against Texas in a rematch – they had the LB speed and tackling ability to contain Young somewhat (NFL defenses will too, for all of the pundits overreacting and suggesting he could be the #1 overall pick).

    The Irish fluffing during the Fiesta Bowl broadcast was sickening. At one point near the end, when ND stopped Ohio State on 2nd down, Gary Danielson (IIRC, whoever Musberger’s partner was) actually exclaimed “Yeah!” That was his ENTIRE comment, too. Then, once the outcome was decided, Musberger goes on to crow about ND’s improved ratings ON A RIVAL TV NETWORK (even mentioning it by name)! It was nothing short of nauseating. All I can say is – thank you, Troy Smith.

    I think USC in 2005 ranks around the middle of the pack TigerFan listed. It was as complete as offense as we will ever see. They can’t tackle for squat, though.

  6. Class of '74 01/05/2006 at 1:51 PM #

    Question to BJD95: If USC played us this year would we score? If so how many? Just wondering based on the can’t tackle comment.

  7. BJD95 01/05/2006 at 2:05 PM #

    I was actually going to mention that their tackling was so bad that even we would have been able to score against them. You must have read my mind.

    We could probably manage 2 or more TDs against them. I figure we’d lose somewhere along the lines of 42-17.

  8. Class of '74 01/05/2006 at 2:17 PM #

    That seems reasonable to me based on what I saw last night.

  9. Class Of 54 01/05/2006 at 4:34 PM #

    One more thing Texas did not score for the frist time this year
    In the first Quater NOTHING.

  10. Lisa 01/05/2006 at 8:17 PM #

    Come on! Vince is great but his touchdown was assisted by the men upstairs who failed to review. So, USC is the greatest team! Watch out for BOOTY! ( Vince won’t be back!)

  11. SaccoV 01/06/2006 at 9:17 AM #

    Why is this question even being discussed? USC was the best team for the last three years in a sport that doesn’t crown true national champions. So freaking what if they are the greatest team? The only arena in which they are the greatest is in sports articles and discussion boards like this one. No one will care in two months whether or not USC could have beaten the 1970 Arkansas Razorbacks or anyone else. Let’s not waste space discussing who’s best when a tournament will prove who’s best.

  12. TigerFan 01/06/2006 at 9:27 AM #

    Had Young been ruled down on the play the officials didn’t review for some unknown reason, Texas would have had a 1st down at the 10 yard line. Hardly a game changing call.

  13. BJD95 01/06/2006 at 10:54 AM #

    I think the potential game changing non-review was Bush’s lateral – to me, it looked VERY close to being a forward lateral (which would have resulted in SC keeping the ball with a 5-yard penalty). It was still a stupid move (and thus hard to say USC was somehow robbed), but I don’t think anyone even thought about that.

    Good point by Sacco – these are all MNCs (Mythical National Championships) anyway, without a tournament. As good as this week’s BCS games were, could you imagine how cool it would have been if they were only the means to an end, with more action to come? I know nobody wants a piece of Ohio State right now.

  14. TigerFan 01/06/2006 at 3:23 PM #

    I don’t think its reviewable but also on the Bush lateral play, it appeared Bush caught the ball beyond the line of scrimmage. Since USC’s linemen were already charging down the field, the whole play could have been brought back due to ineligible receivers downfield.

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