Are we witnessing the beginning of the end, or are we just experiencing a little dip in the continued ascent of USC Football during the Pete Carroll era? Is the sky falling, or do we have expectations that are completely out of whack?
Just like the chaotic, unsatisfying end to yesterday’s game versus Washington, this season has been a little confusing for Trojan fans with short memories. USC isn’t used to sweating out close games. Supposedly.
We aren’t used to scoring less than 50 points a game. We aren’t used to opposing teams hanging around in the 4th quarter. We aren’t used to the Trojans showing no noticeable improvement from game to game. Supposedly.
In the midst of all this, we can conclude doom. Or, we can remember a few things.
A lot of people, including Pete Carroll, have compared this 2006 team to 2003. It’s easy to do – new QB, a group of freshman running backs, young but good defense. Add a big win at an SEC school to start the season, and we assume a destiny of blow out victories and another BCS title game, if not a Rose Bowl win and a split national title, like 2003.
The fact is we are not the same team we were in 2003, let alone last year or the year before that. There is no Mike Williams or Lendale White or Keneche Udeze or Mike Patterson or Reggie Bush or Matt Leinart … at least not yet. There is no Norm Chow or Ed Orgeron or Pete Carroll calling defensive plays for that matter
We have to remember that USC has had more freshmen on the field so far this year than in any other during the Carroll era for various reasons, including a rash of injuries. The Trojans are a very young team with a young coaching staff. We have to remember that our expectations are extremely high.
But perhaps we should also remind ourselves that we have stockpiled perhaps the best collection of talent of any roster in the nation. Maybe we should remind ourselves that we do have Keith Rivers and Rey Maualuga and Brian Cushing and Emmanuel Moody and Dwayne Jarrett and Steve Smith and John David Booty.
Certainly, we should remember that we are in fact 5-0 and ranked No. 3 / No. 2 in the nation. Most of all, let’s all remember that Pete Carroll is still in charge, which means we always have an opportunity to get better, play better and win better. We can't ask for anything more when that opportunity includes a legitmate shot at another National Championship.
There is so much to remember it can be confusing. But as our man Carroll told the Trojans in the locker room after yesterday’s game: “Don’t get your heads down, we won.”
east coast bias