After Southern California’s 47-20 loss to Oregon last night, I read that it was USC’s biggest margin of defeat since 1997. It was also — and this is much more astounding — the first time the Trojans had lost by more than a touchdown since 2001.
That’s seven and a half consecutive seasons without losing by more than seven points. It’s beyond impressive, and it makes Oregon’s dominating performance even more unbelievable.
I wasn’t shocked that USC lost. It was clear even before last night that this Trojan team, on either side of the ball, is not on par with the USC teams of the past five or so years. But they were ranked No. 5, sitting at 6-1 with a win at Ohio State. Even in a “down” year USC is still very, very good.
But more than anything, the loss points out how good this program has been over the last seven years. That 2001 season, when Southern Cal lost to Notre Dame by 11, was Pete Carroll’s first as USC coach. Everyone who follows college football even just a little bit knows that USC has been a top program over the past several years. But the fact no team had handily defeated them — hadn’t even come close — in all these years is mind-blowing.
When you think of the great programs of the last seven years, you think of USC, Texas, Florida, Oklahoma, Ohio State. But only USC could claim that they were never dominated in a football game.
Until last night.
Even if you thought USC was overrated this season, it had to be weird to see last night’s result, whether you were watching the game, saw the score go across the ticker at the bottom of your screen, or read about it Sunday morning.
USC on the wrong side of a blowout? It just didn’t look right.