Pac-12: clutch team past

USC shines as Pac-10's 'clutch team past'

August, 1, 2008
8/01/08
11:00
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Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

What's clutch? Winning, over and over, through the ages.

That's USC. Or as Pete Carroll would say: "Win Forever."

It certainly feels like that for the rest of the college football world, especially the Pac-10, which has looked up at the Trojans in the conference standings for six consecutive seasons.

Sure, USC took a turn in the doldrums during the '80s and '90s -- heck the '50s weren't so grand either. Sure, the program's lost a number of notable games -- anyone see a 41-point favorite lose at home before?

Sure, many talented USC teams didn't live up to their promise.

But many did.

The record speaks for itself.  The Trojans:

  • Own 11 national titles in five different decades.
  • Own the highest all-time winning percentage in the Pac-10 vs. NCAA opponents of any conference (.704). That percentage ranks seventh among all Division I schools.
  • Own a winning record vs. every Pac-10 team, ranging from 55-8-4 (Washington State) to 42-28-7 (UCLA).
  • Own a winning record vs. every other BCS conference, including a 17-10-1 mark vs. the SEC.
  • Own a 30-16 record in bowl games (.652). Those 30 wins rank second all-time to Alabama, which has 31.
  • Own seven wins over No. 1-ranked teams, second only to Notre Dame's eight.

History? It's not just one great coach; it's four: Howard Jones, John McKay, John Robinson and Pete Carroll.

Clutch teams also produce clutch performers: Seven Heisman Trophy winners.

Recall quarterback Matt Leinart willing the Trojans to victory at Notre Dame in 2005. Or Charles White taking over the 1980 Rose Bowl.

And it's not just the Heisman winners. It's Rodney Peete leading the Trojans to a victory over No. 6 UCLA, despite suffering from the measles. It's Anthony Davis' 11 career touchdowns vs. Notre Dame.

USC is easily the Pac-10's Godfather of Clutch and arguably one of college football's "most clutch" programs of all time.

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