College Football Handicapping: After The Trojans Break
by Nicholas Tolomeo - 9/24/2009
The nine-year tenure of Pete Carroll at USC has yielded some stone cold truths. The former NFL coach has proven time and time again that he can win the big game. And repeatedly he has also proven that he will lose the small game.
Under Carroll the Trojans always find a way to win their big marquee nonconference games and bowl games. Yet once the oddsmakers put out a line on USC somewhere between -20 and -36 in Pac-10 conference games, USC inexplicably finds a way to stumble.
This year it was USC traveling to Columbus, Ohio to defeat the Buckeyes in a hostile environment. Seven days later it was the Trojans rushing off the Husky Stadium turf as students were rushing onto the turf to celebrate yet another colossal meltdown by the Trojans.
These midseason hiccups are almost a rite of autumn. Besides USC's two trips to the National Championship game in 2004 and 2005 each Pete Carroll season has featured a major upset.
Here is a recap of each one and what became of the Trojans the next week and the remainder of the season.
September 27, 2003
USC -13.5 at California
The upsets began with a Week 4 loss at California as near two-touchdown favorites. The very next week USC responded with a 37-17 win at Arizona State, covering the 11.5-point spread. It would be a sign of things to come as USC would not lose again for the remainder of the season going 9-0 SU and covering every spread along the way.
October 28, 2006
USC -10.5 at Oregon State
Oregon State 33
As thick fog crawled over Corvallis, Oregon USC once again saw a perfect regular season vanish into the foggy air. The visibility was so bad the television announcers were forced to move down to field level to broadcast the game. Shortly after the Oregon State student body would be making their way down the field to celebrate. This was the first of two upsets in 2006. USC responded this time with a 42-0 thrashing on the road at Stanford as 28.5-point favorites. The Trojans went 5-1 the rest of the season SU and ATS.
December 2, 2006
USC -10.5 at UCLA
Thanks to numerous upsets the Trojans had a chance of redemption but with UCLA standing in its way the Trojans crumbled again, knocking themselves out of the BCS National Title picture once. USC responded with a convincing 32-18 win against Michigan in the Rose Bowl as a 1-point underdog.
October 6, 2007
USC -39 vs. Stanford
There never has been and perhaps never will be an upset as big as this. Stanford converted a pair of desperation fourth-and-longs on the final game-winning drive to stun the sporting world and the USC faithful on hand who could only watch in disbelief. The damage had been done for good to the USC program but the Trojans did manage to go 7-1 the rest of the season.
September 25, 2008
USC -24 at Oregon State
Oregon State 27
The ghost of Corvallis once again caught up to Carroll and the Trojans on a Thursday night primetime game. USC exacted some revenge next week against Oregon with a 44-10 win. It would not lose again the rest of the season.
September 19, 2009
USC -20.5 at Washington
Matt Barkley could not play on Saturday so Carroll went with sophomore quarterback Aaron Corp who apparently could not play either. The Trojans offense never got started and Washington, who had just snapped the nation's longest losing streak sent USC reeling once again early in the season. If the previous six years are any indication, then the 45 points USC is giving to Washington State Saturday night at 10:15 are not enough.
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