"Conquest", "Fight On", cardinal and gold, college football, College Football Playoff, football, NCAA, Pac-12 Conference, Rose Bowl, Trojan Family, Trojans, University of Southern California, USC, USC Trojans
Trojans coming out of the tunnel at the Coliseum to do battle. Photo courtesy of foxsports.com
USC TROJANS – 2016 BY THE NUMBERS:
Final Record: 10-3, 7-2 and 2nd place in the Pac-12 South
* Won last nine games after a 1-3 start, including a 26-13 win over 4th ranked and eventual Pac-12 Conference Champion Washington on November 12th
* Beat both rivals, UCLA & Notre Dame
* Won the Rose Bowl for the 25th time in 34 appearances, most in the country by any team in any bowl, beating Penn State 52-49 in an epic classic.
Ranking: Currently 9th – will be higher in the final polls
Sam Darnold, QB – 67.2 % completions, 3,086 yards passing, 31 TDs (five in the Rose Bowl), 9 INTs
Ronald Jones II, RB – 177 carries, 1,082 yards, 6.1 ypc, 12 TDs
JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR – 70 receptions, 914 yards, 10 TDs
Darreus Rogers, WR – 56 receptions, 4 TDs
Cameron Smith, LB – 83 tackles, 7 TFL
Porter Gustin, LB – 68 tackles, 13 TFL, 5.5 sacks
Rasheem Green, DL – 55 tackles, 6.5 TFL, 6 sacks
Adoree Jackson, DB/PR/KR/WR (My choice for team MVP) – 55 tackles, 5 INTs (two in the Rose Bowl), 2 TDs of kick returns, including one for 100 yards, 2 TDs off punt returns, including one for 77 yards
The number one reason why USC currently has a nine game winning streak and a Rose Bowl victory: Quarterback Sam Darnold (#14). Photo courtesy of reignoftroy.com
They are probably still playing “Conquest” over the loudspeakers on that south of downtown L.A. campus.
If you’re a fan, a student, or an alumnus of the University of Southern California – or a combination of the three – the golden days have returned as it clearly feels like it did the last time the Trojan football program emerged as a dominant power in 2002.
That fact that all of this glory came after a 1-3 start, which included a last second loss to Utah, makes this USC triumph on the gridiron that much better.
If you’re a fan, student or alum of rivals UCLA and Notre Dame – or any other Pac-12 school – then you’re likely feeling the way Harry Potter did when in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the fourth book and movie in that series, Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters returned to terrorize the wizarding world.
The scariest part of all of this is that after looking at next season’s schedule,
Because of the fact that USC misses Oregon and the team that currently possesses the best chance of beating them at the moment, Washington,
Highlights from a 2016 season that saw USC’s Trojans go from a 1-3 start to Rose Bowl Champions to a clear favorite for the national championship in 2017. Courtesy of YouTube.
Combined with the Bruins, the Fighting Irish, and the other big name non-conference opponent on the 2017 schedule, Texas, being down,
And the other Pac-12 schools’ football talent simply not matching the Trojans,
It’s crystal clear that Clay Helton’s cardinal-and-gold team will have a beyond excellent chance to go undefeated, win the conference title and be one of the four teams in the College Football Playoff.
Especially if JuJu Smith-Schuster and Adoree Jackson decide to forego the $30 million (each!) that they will get as certain first round NFL draft picks and remain Trojans for their senior seasons.
In fact, if both of those All-Universe players return, I’m sure that someone will call for the NCAA to cancel the season and either give ‘SC the national championship trophy on Labor Day or schedule just one game against the Alabama Crimson Tide (or the Clemson Tigers should they upset Alabama on the 9th) on that day as the college football season, particularly among the west coast teams, would be pointless.
Adoree Jackson, the Trojans’ do-it-all Most Valuable Player for 2016. Photo courtesy of reignoftroy.com
Even if Jackson and Smith-Schuster take the money and go (which they definitely should!), so many key players, including Darnold at QB, will be returning that I reckon at least some Pac-12 opponents are having a thought of not giving the Trojans the satisfaction of blasting them by 40 points, opting to forfeit the game.
I know that won’t realistically happen, but still…
It’s an illustration of how scary good USC will be next year.
So much so that even without Jackson, Smith-Schuster, and senior offensive line studs Zach Banner and Chad Wheeler, those Trojans will still be the overwhelming favorite in the Pac-12 with a good shot at the playoff.
Which is a most exciting thought for the Trojan Family.
And a thought on the level of “Dead Man Walking” for everyone else.
USC’s iconic Song Girls in front of the Trojan Marching Band. Photo courtesy of reignoftroy.com