College Football: Is Southern California the New Miami?

BabyTateSenior Writer IAugust 12, 2009

Southern California was never much of a factor on the college football stage.

Until 1921.

The 20th Century Trojans were one of the greatest programs in college football, boasting an astonishing array of National Championships, Heisman Trophy winners, and a 25-14 Bowl record.

Two of the most mind-numbing coaching geniuses in the history of the game, Gus Henderson and Howard Jones, graced the Trojan sidelines.

Henderson won 45 and lost seven during his time, Jones won 121 and lost 36.

Later in the century, Jess Hill, John McKay, and John Robinson combined for 276 victories against 92 losses during their coaching tenure.

The reputation of the Trojans preceded them onto the field. They were talented, fearsome, well coached, and pure dynamite in a big game situation.

They did not need any further chapters in school history to solidify their place in college football history. They could rest on the laurels of 1920 through 1990.

And then came Pete Carroll.

Much has been said about the effect of Carroll on the USC program but, his first season was hardly a harbinger of what was coming.

The Trojans drifted to six losses in 2001, culminating with a defeat by Utah in the Las Vegas Bowl.

Since then Pete Carroll is 82-9 at the helm of the Men of Troy. That's a winning ratio of 90 percent.

Because of this success, the following case can be made concerning the 21st century Southern California Trojans.

They are college football's current royalty, and are very similar to the 1983-1994 era Miami Hurricanes as the most dominant program in college football.

During the period of Miami's dominance, the Hurricanes won four national championships in 11 years, winning 126 games and losing 19 for a winning ratio of 87 percent.

Those Hurricanes took no prisoners. They intimidated through skill as well as ferocity.

How good were the players? They had three head coaches during those 11 years, each winning national titles.

There will be those who complain that Florida State and Nebraska in the 1990s and Florida in this decade were more deserving.

After all. the Seminoles won two national titles, the Cornhuskers also had two and even split a third with Michigan in '97.

Florida had a championship in the 90s as well. Add the two BCS titles of the past three seasons and the Gator supporters have a point.

Perhaps more of a point than Nebraska and FSU followers would care to acknowledge.

You can take it and bank it, when it comes to this decade—the Trojans are plainly superior to Florida.

LSU fans may take exception to this comparison since they have two national titles this decade as well and have outperformed the Gators.

And that's not all.

Georgia has outperformed Florida this decade in overall winning percentage.

To point: The Gators can't be third in the SEC and stake a claim as the best in the country.

In short, count Florida out.

The giants of the Big 12, Texas and Oklahoma, will have to be dealt with in order to settle the issue of 21st century royalty.

Each has won a BCS title. The records are razor close for the entire period.

The Longhorns defeated Southern California in one of the greatest title games ever played to win the 2005 championship.

The Trojans annihilated Oklahoma in the 2004 season championship match, perhaps the worst title game ever played.

Consider also the case for Ohio State.

The Buckeyes have won a BCS title this decade, defeating in overtime a rebuilt version of the mighty Miami Hurricane machine of the 80s and early 90s.

Ohio State has a definite dog in the fight when it comes to making the case of royalty in the 21st century.

Their undoing may well be they have lost title games to Florida and LSU as well as a BCS Bowl to Texas.

And the team with the highest winning percentage in the decade? They have not won a BCS title but, have 98 victories against 17 losses for an 85 percent winning clip.

Meet the Boise State Broncos.


1. Boise State    98-17                                85                              0

2. Texas (Tie)    97-18                                 84                             1

2. Oklahoma (Tie) 102-19                            84                              1 

4. Southern California 93-22                         81                              1

5. Ohio State       91-23                                80                              1

6. LSU                 90-27                                77                              2

7. Georgia            90-28                                76                              0

8. Florida              87-29                                75                              2

Miami '83-'94      126-19                               87           (Pre BCS)    4  

By all means, take the above winning percentages into consideration.

Respect the multiple titles of LSU and Florida.

Make a note regarding the strength of competition.

But one other factor should be taken into account, fear.

Yes, the fear of who will be the national champion year in and year out unless they are beaten somewhere along the way.

Fear is what separated the Miami teams of '83-'94. They demanded respect, and they received it, one way or the other.

The current crop of challengers must ask themselves, "who is the most feared team among us year after year?"

No, it is not Florida, not Texas, not even Oklahoma.

Nor is it LSU or Ohio State.

When all the facts are collected, it seems apparent the only case for the new Miami can be made concerning Pete Carroll's Southern California Trojans.

Fight on, with hurricane warnings for the rest of college football.


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