Come join me for a quick look back at the top seven moments in USC football during the Pete Carroll era. There have been National Championships, Heisman Trophies, and instant classics, but what made my top seven?
We can only hope that the future brings the Trojans similar accomplishments, but for now let's take a look back at some of the best moments that USC football and has had under Coach Carroll.
Who can forget Carson Palmer and the show he put on a few weeks after he won the Heisman Trophy? The Trojans pounded the No. 3 Hawkeyes 38-17 to capture the 2003 Orange Bowl. This game symbolized that USC football was back and ready to become the powerhouse it was used to being.
USC 28, Michigan 14 was the final score to the 2004 Rose Bowl. USC finished the season 12-1 and split the national title with the LSU Tigers. USC won the AP title and LSU won the BCS title game 21-14 over the Oklahoma Sooners. This game told college fans everywhere that Matt Leinart was the real deal, and so were Pete Carroll's Trojans.
Reggie Bush sealed his Heisman case and saved USC's title hopes Nov. 19, 2005, as he had 513 total yards! USC knocked off Fresno State 50-42, and all I can remember from that night is the incredible run where Bush ran down the left sideline, stopped on a dime, and ran all the way across the field for a touchdown. I watched every second of that game, and it seemed like he was breaking off a big play every time he got the ball. This game sealed his Heisman case and saved USC's season...what a game, what a performance!
The only reason why this isn't higher or No. 1 is because USC lost. Vince Young and the Texas Longhorns beat the USC Trojans 41-38 to win the 2006 National Championship. Texas was the first team to beat USC in two years and did so in dramatic fashion. This game went back and forth all night long, and Vince Young's fourth down run ended USC's streak of dominance. As of now, this is the greatest game I have ever seen and may ever see...and that is saying a lot since I am a USC fan and they lost. Both teams deserved the title that year.
Matt Leinart won the Heisman Trophy in 2004. The following year his teammate and best friend Reggie Bush also won the Heisman Trophy. Not only did these moments seal their legacies at college players, it sealed the dominance of USC football. There will never be a moment from now on when USC dominance and Bush-Leinart aren't in the same sentence.
The USC Trojans' winning streak had reached the mid 30s, and they seemed to be unstoppable; however, in late 2005, the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame gave USC the biggest scare possible. The Irish tried everything from wearing green jerseys to growing the grass extra tall, but it was still not enough. I still remember where I was and what I was doing during the end of that game and the big fourth down play...Leinart to Jarrett. Moments later, one of the most renowned plays ever in college football history occurred: the "Bush Push." Matt Leinart was supposed to spike the ball to stop the clock, but he didn't. His friend and teammate Reggie Bush told him to go for it, Leinart did, Bush pushed, and the rest is history! I consider this the second-greatest game I have seen.
For those who want to relive the final drive of that classic game, click the link below...still incredible and spine chilling.
55-19. The final score is all that needs to be said about the 2005 BCS Championship game, as the Trojans absolutely demolished the Oklahoma Sooners. Adrian Peterson and Jason White were contained, and USC's offense was truly incredible and balanced. This could go down as one of the best college teams ever, period!