Two Losses: Why USC Still Loves Pete Carroll, Despite Fluke Year

Mitchell GoldenCorrespondent INovember 6, 2009

EUGENE, OR - OCTOBER 31: Head coach Pete Carroll of the USC Trojans looks out at the action on the field in the third quarter of the game against the Oregon Ducks at Autzen Stadium on October 31, 2009 in Eugene, Oregon. Oregon defeated USC 47-20. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
Steve Dykes/Getty Images

Blame it on defense. Blame it on Aaron Corp. Hell, blame it on the Bossa Nova.

Wherever you want to point the blame, USC is a two-loss team, something that Southern Los Angeles is not used to. And let me tell you, students are not taking this well. Viewership of tomorrow’s game at Arizona State may stay the same, but there won’t be the same viewing parties, nor the same excitement.

For USC, anything short of a BCS bowl is unacceptable. And guess what? As of right now, we’re not making it to a BCS bowl this year.

One could ask: is it right for the SEC to consistently send two teams to BCS bowls, while the Pac-10 is almost always held to just one? Sure, Alabama and Florida are undefeated.

If Oregon had scheduled Charleston Southern as their first game, and not a difficult Boise State game, they would be undefeated too, and perhaps USC’s loss would not have sent the Trojans all the way to double digit ranks. Of course, Washington hurts way too much.

But alas, all the what ifs have to be thrown out the window, and for once, I’ll abandon the SEC rant, because the all the facts point to one thing: USC is a two loss team. We can’t take back Aaron Corp. We cant take back our inability to tackle against Oregon.

Yet USC fans remain optimistic for the future. “Barkley is a freshman. We may not be in a BCS bowl this year, but a championship could be coming soon,” one sophomore commented. After all, a two-loss season for USC seems more like a fluke than a foreboding sign.

After all, if Matt Barkley played in Washington, as many argue, we would be a one-loss team, primed to give the Pac-10 its first two-team BCS bowl season in a long time.

The Oregon loss was the first time in the Pete Carroll era that a team has outgained the Trojans by 31 yards. The Oregon loss was also the largest loss in the Pete Carroll era. It was a historically significant game, one that assured the Trojans they would not be repeating Rose Bowl champions.

History has flukes. Streaks are broken. Even the Pittsburgh Steelers had to lose some games before hitting it big. Yet year in and year out, the Steelers threaten. Why? Because the core remains the same.

And the core will remain the same with the USC Trojans. Most importantly, Pete Carroll will remain.

For all the griping I’ve heard on campus, none of it has been towards the seemingly-immortal icon Pete Carroll. Students still wear their “Big Balls Pete” shirts with pride, and whisper whenever they pass his parked car on the way back home from class.

This season does not make fans worry about their coach. Flukes happen. USC recharges with top talent every year. Pete Carroll knows how to use that talent.

This year, most of our defensive players were starting for the first time. Sure, when you plug in one or two players a year, the change shouldn’t be as significant as the ugly breakdowns we’ve been seeing. However, this is almost a brand new unit, with very few returners from the year before.

With the addition of new coordinators to replace departed coaches, this year was definitely a rebuilding year. We, as USC fans, still feel disappointment at not being the best.

But beating Ohio State and Notre Dame in big away games is pretty good for a rebuilding year. And I’m sure the USC bowl game, BCS or not, will prove yet again that USC, despite its regular season flukes, can play up to any competition.

With Pete, USC can do anything. Fight on.