Trojan Mediocrity: Bizarro World Descends On USC

Marc HalstedCorrespondent INovember 14, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 14:  Matt Barkley #7 of the USC Trojans reacts to an incompleted pass on third down against Stanford Cardinal during the first half at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 14, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

Bizarro World has come to college football.

When the lights go out on this weekend's action, Oklahoma, Michigan, and Notre Dame will not be ranked.

Oklahoma has five losses, Michigan (barring a miracle against Ohio State) will not go to a bowl game for the second year in a row, and Notre Dame will continue to stumble around in the dark as they attempt to manage their miserable stretch-run against Pitt, UConn, and Stanford.

But sadly, one under-achieving marquee programs will still get some attention from the disillusioned voters.

Face it pollsters, the Trojan Age is over. 

USC is barely a Top-40 team. Their once-vaunted depth chart looks shallow and broken and their pro-tough and pro-ready team image has crumbled with their soft and indifferent play over the past month of the season.

The results don’t lie. The Trojans have lost to a two-loss Oregon team, a three-loss Stanford squad, and a seven-loss group from the University of Washington.

Worse yet, the Trojans have given up 119 points over the last four games. They’ve also surrendered half-a-hundred to a freshman quarterback from Stanford, 482 yards and 36 points to Oregon State, and a over 600 yards to the Oregon Ducks.

And those numbers aren’t even the really bad news.

The Ducks racked up nearly 8 yards per carry and out-gained the Trojans by a 2-to-1 margin.

Stanford out-gained USC by 135 yards and became the second team in two weeks to rush for over 300 yards against the Pete Carroll’s four- and five-star front seven.

Oregon State was the first of three straight teams to put up more yardage than Joe McKnight, Damian Williams, Matt Barkley and the USC offensive “Juggernaut.”

To top it all off, USC was one play away from losing to Ohio State, Notre Dame, and Arizona State. A few bounces of the ball and the Trojans could be a five or six loss team fighting for a chance to play in the MAACO Las Vegas Bowl.

Now look Trojan fan, don’t tell me about injuries because I thought your second units could win 10 games in the Pac-10.

Don’t tell me about a freshman quarterback because Andrew Luck, Zach Collaros, and a handful of first-year signal callers are getting it done around the nation.

And don’t tell me about a tough conference schedule when you’re losing to two teams that didn’t have winning records last year.

Oh, and you got crushed in your own backyard by Jim Harbaugh and lost to Coach Sark up in Seattle. Now that's harsh.

Coach Carroll and his program must now deal with the ignominy of being a middle-of-the-pack Pac-10 team that’s losing games, recruits, and their reputation.

The fact that the AP poll had them at 11 and the BCS ranking placed them ninth going into this weekend was an embarrassment to the college game.

With TCU, Boise State, Iowa, Penn State, Ohio State, half of the SEC, and a number of Big East and Big 12 teams proving that parity has become a reality in the game today, USC has no place in the top 25.

The luster is gone. The shine has worn off. The reputation has faded, and the LA-sized ego should not be far behind.

Illustrious college football powers like Notre Dame, Michigan, and Oklahoma have been force-fed their humble pie over the past three months.

It’s time for the Trojans to take their seat at the dessert table.

Welcome to parity, big-U mediocrity, and the realities of the modern game.

Welcome to Bizarro World, USC.