After the run of success USC has had in recent years with multiple national championships, Heisman Trophy winners and first-round picks in the NFL, one could conclude that their run is almost over, and that USC football tickets aren’t the draw they were a year ago. After all, what team could possibly replace the likes of Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush, Winston Justice and Darnell Bing, just to name a few, all at once?
The answer, of course, is that USC can be that team, and there are two prominent reasons that the Trojans are beginning to look like the next long-term juggernaut of college football, a spot that has been occupied in recent years by Nebraska, Miami and Oklahoma, if you go a bit further back. A few of these reasons are laid out below.
Who would’ve thought that Pete Carroll would do what he’s done since coming to USC in 2001? By many accounts, Carroll wasn’t the administration’s first choice. In fact, he wasn’t the second, third or fourth either. Carroll was a lightly-regarded NFL coach who had experienced limited success with the New York Jets and New England Patriots, and in four seasons he finished with an overall record of 34-33 and one appearance in the playoffs.
Rumors swirled that USC pursued such coaching “names” as Dennis Erickson, Mike Belotti and Mike Reilly. When none of them wanted the job, it fell into Carroll’s lap, so the new-found legend goes. What a fortuitous turn of events it turned out to be for everyone involved.
Carroll walked into a program that many felt was on the decline. Paul Hackett, his predecessor, had only a 19-18 record in three seasons. Fans were losing interest, and USC football tickets were readily available for most of their games. Carroll started by changing the culture surrounding the high-strung program, and his laid-back personality was a perfect fit for both the program and the area.
Carroll does not need to take a back seat to anyone in terms of X’s and O’s, either. His defenses may not have gotten as much publicity as his high-powered offensive units, but USC has become a strong defensive team as well under Carroll. He changed the entire outlook for his players, the alumni and fans in general, and he doesn’t appear to be ready to leave anytime soon. The program is in good hands.
There is no substitute for talent. USC may have lost a ton of great players recently, but that doesn’t mean that the cupboard is bare. Carroll’s personality is also a great fit with recruiting, and players often talk about how they “identify” with the coach. The new starters this year consist of several high school All Americans and other highly-recruited athletes.
John David Booty is poised to take over the reigns at QB, and ultra-talented RB’s Chauncey Washington, Emmanuel Moody and C.J. Gable are not only talented, but fast and physical.
In short, USC is loaded, and they’re ready to keep the ball rolling. Remember, everyone fretted when Carson Palmer, et al graduated a few years ago, but then some no-name players like Leinart and Bush stepped in and did just fine. When you’re three deep at every position with talented players, you don’t rebuild, you reload.
That’s why USC football tickets will remain a hot item, and also why the Trojans have the look of a long-term dynasty.