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The departure of offensive coordinator Norm Chow from USC to the NFL will not be the end of the Trojans' dominance. It may not be noticed at all this season, when the offense loses only two senior starters and returns a Heisman Trophy winner.
But it is the beginning of the end. To pretend that Oakland assistant Steve Sarkisian (should he return to USC) can churn out quarterbacks like a coach who has developed three Heisman Trophy winners (Ty Detmer, Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart), not to mention Philip Rivers, Steve Young, Robbie Bosco, Jim McMahon and Gifford Nielsen, is foolish.
Chow is a singular talent, and coach Pete Carroll decided, for reasons so far unknown, not to work to keep him. You can't help but think that a clash of egos caused Chow to leave. What's not to like about winning 33 of 34 games?
One of the more interesting hidden stories this season will be the progress of John David Booty, Rocky Hinds and Matt Sanchez, the three quarterbacks who will jockey to replace Leinart.
History tells us that dynasties can begin to crumble from within as well as without.
-- Ivan Maisel