The USC Trojans...Pac-10 Champions in football. Everyone outside of LA is hoping and praying that the dynasty will end. Every year, a few brave souls venture out of their caves to pick against the Trojans and proceed to get flogged repeatedly by their Troy oppressors. Will 2009 be any different? Probably not but that doesn't mean the ATQ Editors couldn't get together and take a stab at this week's Fact or Fiction question.
Fact or Fiction: USC will win the Pac-10 Championship in Football in 2009
Was anyone willing to step out of their mother's basement and pick against the Trojans winning the Pac-10 Championship? Check it out after the jump. Just remember, sometimes living in your mother's basement can help prevent pain, suffering, and from spending money on rent. It isn't always bad.
PaulSF > FACT
Listen, I hate the the Trojans just as much as the next guy, and maybe more. But let's face it: USC has been the team to beat every year for nearly a decade. Since being hired in 2000, Pete Carroll has not only brought the program back to glory after two relatively subpar decades, he's taken the Trojans to new heights. USC has finished with at least a share of the Pac-10 title every season for seven straight, and four of those seven were outright titles.
Everyone's been talking about how USC is due for a down year in 2009, and I think it's definitely a possibility. But we need to put "down year" into perspective. After sharing the Pac-10 title with ASU in 2007, followed by a win over Illinois in the Rose Bowl, a record seven Trojans were taken on the first day of the 2008 NFL Draft, and four of them were first-rounders. But despite having lost so many players to the NFL, USC came back and won the conference title outright in 2008. The Trojans have proved they have prolific talent (14 first-round picks since 2000), and are likely to be atop the conference standings again in 2009.
Bottom line: In the past seven seasons, a down year means not winning the Pac-10 title outright and/or not winning a national championship. If I'm a betting man, I'm putting my money on USC to at least share the title again in 2009. But here's to hoping they don't.
JConant > FACT
USC will be Pac-10 champs in 2009. I do think there's a remote possibility they may share that title with a 1-loss Cal or 1-loss Oregon, because I don't think any team will get through the conference schedule unscathed.
Why will USC repeat, again? Because this program has a near endless supply of NFL-quality talent and because Pete Carrol - like him or not - is a genius motivator who uses competition among 2- and 3-deep talent to get the utmost performance and effort from those who are lucky enough to hold a prestigious starting spot. Skill position talent is unquestionable. The entire offensive line, including a couple key reserves, returns. Aaron Corp doesn't have to win games on his own, just manage the offense. There is no reason to believe the Trojans defense will be anything but really good if not great.
Reloading is the norm at USC. If the towel boy quits during the off season, I'd bet on F-you Pete to have an able replacement ready to fill the spot. That's just what the USC program is all about right now. Until someone knocks them off their pedestal, the Trojans have to be the favorite to win the Pac-10.
jtlight > FACT
Simply put, USC has more talent than any other team in the nation. While they have some question marks, and may be a little worse than last year, they are still a better team than any other in the conference.
They simply have too much talent and experience. Their two-deep on the offensive line is simply staggering to look at. They are deeper than any team in the country, in talent and experience, and it's not close. They have some of the most talented skill position players in the country, who perform year after year. At QB, they have Aaron Corp, who didn't make mistakes during the spring. And offensively, that's pretty much all they need.
Defensively, they have arguably the best player in the nation in Taylor Mays. He makes their entire defense better. They have experience on the D-line, and though the linebackers are inexperienced, they were better than expected in the spring, which should scare the hell out of all the Pac-10. Again, this is a unit that has performed for the past 7 years, without fail, no matter who is coming back.
While USC may have some question marks, there really is no reason to think they won't succeed. USC may lose a non-conference game and a random Pac-10 game due to that inexperience, especially at QB, but they should still win the Pac-10, either outright, or with a tiebreaker.
dvieira > FICTION
We know the stats of USC in the Pete Carroll era. Every year they reload with NFL talent and continue their dominance in the Pac-10. I'm here to tell you that you can throw out all the stats you want about USC being a dynasty, the team to beat, whatever you want. This year will be different and I'll tell you why. They've lost the competitive fire. They're too used to winning games and its cost the Trojans a game or two each year since the Curse of Vince Young befell USC during the 2005-06 National Championship game. In 2006, the Trojans fall to Oregon State in Corvallis. In 2007, USC lost to Oregon and then fell to Stanford in one of the biggest upsets in the history of the program. In 2008, Oregon State gets them again.
Fast forward to 2009. Sure, some would have you think that USC is just deep and having to replace everyone is no big deal. Pete Carroll didn't want to lose Mark Sanchez to the NFL for another year but people seem to gloss over that as just Pete being Pete. There is a reason why he wanted Sanchez back next season and it had everything to do with experience. The Trojans have key games on the road, playing at Ohio State in the second game of their season, playing at Cal in a night game and then coming to Autzen on Halloween in what could be an absolutely crazed fanbase under the lights. Even though Oregon State hasn't done well at Southern Cal, they may have finally found a formula for slaying the giant. USC desperately needs experience and they may not get it in time to notch a few losses.
USC has strong potential to lose as many as 3 games in the Pac-10 this year. 2 of which, Cal and Oregon, are played on the road. Throw in one bad loss on the account of the Curse of Vince Young and you could see a Trojan team at 8-4. Oregon has all of their tough Pac-10 games at home this year. Cal is in the same boat with the exception of having to play Oregon at Autzen. Either of those two teams have a good shot...strike that....GREAT shot at unseating USC with Oregon State being a potential darkhorse team in that category.