Trojans celebrating winning the Pac-12 title, beating Stanford – for the 2nd time in 2017 – on December 1st. Photo courtesy of sfchronicle.com
USC TROJANS – 2017 SEASON BY THE NUMBERS
Final Record: 11-3, 8-1 and first place in the Pac-12 South
- Went a perfect 7-0 at home
- Beat UCLA for the third straight year, 28-23
- Pac-12 Champions for the first time since 2008, beating Stanford 31-28
- Lost Cotton Bowl to Big Ten Champion Ohio State, 24-7
Rank: 8th (not the final ranking – subject to change)
Sam Darnold, QB – 63.1 % completions, 4,143 yards, 26 TD, 13 INT
Ronald Jones II, RB (Team MVP) – 1,550 yards rushing, 5.9 ypc, 19 TD
Deontay Burnett, WR – 86 receptions, 1,114 yards, 9 TD
Cameron Smith, LB – 112 tackles, 11 TFL
Rasheem Green, DL – 12.5 TFL, 10 sacks
Uchenna Nwosu, LB – 75 tackles, 11 TFL, 9.5 sacks
Jalen Jones, DB – 4 INT
THE #1 HIGHLIGHT FOR USC FOOTBALL FOR 2017: Beating Stanford for the second time this season, 31-28, in the Pac-12 Championship Game on December 1st. Courtesy of YouTube.
Final Analysis and Thoughts:
Despite getting double digits in wins for the second straight year,
Despite beating crosstown rival UCLA for the third straight year,
Despite becoming Pac-12 champions for the first time in nine years,
And despite earning a top-ten ranking with an invitation to a New Year’s Six bowl game,
It seems to me that at the end of the day, many members of the “Trojan Family” feel a sense of disappointment, no doubt due to the absolute spanking that Ohio State put on them in the Cotton Bowl on December 30th.
Face it men, women, children, students, alumni and fans of Troy, your cardinal and gold heroes showed that they were unable to hang when trying to pick on someone their own size.
Notre Dame was another illustration of that in what was a bigger 49-14 beatdown of ‘SC in South Bend back in October.
And don’t get me started on what happened the previous time the Trojans played in AT&T Stadium – otherwise known as the house that Jerry Jones built – in Arlington, TX in 2016;
Alabama (who will be going for their second national championship in three years and their fifth in nine years next Monday after beating up on Clemson in the College Football Playoff semifinals) 52, USC 6 – a complete woodshed-whipping.
This is a big factor of the Trojans not being as respected as they could be around the country; sure, they can beat the Bruins and other Pac-12 and West Coast foes, but as an acquaintance of mine who’s a Miami Hurricanes fan told me a few years ago,
“They don’t play anybody!”
To state the obvious and to coin a cliché,
“It they want to be the best, they’ve got to beat the best.”
And right now, USC is a ways away from being able to do that.
Having said what I said…
I’ve got two words for those ‘SC fans who always call for coach Clay Helton’s head whenever the Trojans lose, like they did last Friday:
Those sentiments fuel the notion of that “Spoiled Children” reputation that USC people loathe.
The honest truth is, after the problems that previous coaches Lane Kiffin and particularly Steve Sarkisian (with his unfortunate issues with alcohol) created, Helton is the best thing that happened to USC football this decade as he has stabilized that program.
If those “Fire Helton” folks are listened to by athletic director Lynn Swann, it will be like what Joni Mitchell often sang,
“You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.”
My choice for MVP of the Trojans this year, Ronald Jones II, against Texas. Courtesy of YouTube.
Although if I were Helton, I’d make sure to keep vigilance and keep working hard to continue the success he has enjoyed at USC.
A Trojan alum and a former All-American and Rose Bowl hero, Jack Del Rio, was just fired as the coach of the Oakland Raiders, which not only means that he’s available,
I’m sure that he’d jump very high at the chance of coaching his alma mater.
As For Next Fall…
Though they’ll be losing a number of important people, including (possibly) Darnold and (no doubt) Jones, who passed some big names like O.J. Simpson on the all-time rushing list this season,
Due to USC getting their usual large number of four and five-star high school players, including (Santa Ana) Mater Dei High School’s J.T. Daniels, who’s skipping his senior year to begin his Trojan career,
‘SC will undoubtedly be favored to win the Pac-12 again, and unlike last year go to the Rose Bowl as that game returns to their traditional Pac-12/Big Ten set-up.
Whether or not they can jump that hurdle of beating the big boys like Alabama, however, is anyone’s guess.
Because in my view those Trojans won’t be truly respected around the nation until they do.
Sam Darnold (#14) handing off to Ronald Jones II (#25) during this year’s Pac-12 title game. Photo courtesy of youtube.com.