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USC's Dominance is Over
TO THE HOUSE: Stanford defensive back Richard Sherman (Dominguez HS) gets ready to intercept this pass from USCâ€™s Matt Barkley and take it back for a touchdown.
By Jason LewisSentinel Staff WriterWhen the mighty falls, they fall hard.
It was bad enough that the USC Trojans were run out of Oregon 47-20, but their 55-21 loss to Stanford, at the Coliseum, was flat out embarrassing.
USC has run up the score on the entire PAC-10 over the past seven years while winning the conference title each season. To see them pummeled in that fashion was shocking. Stanford gained 469 total yards, 325 of them rushing. Stanford running back Toby Gerhard, who turned down a scholarship offer from USC because they wanted to convert him into a fullback or linebacker, rushed for 178 yards and three touchdowns, and USC turned the ball over four times, three of those were interceptions thrown by Matt Barkley.
Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh has never hid his dislike for USC head coach Pete Carroll, and when he had a chance to run up the score, he made sure everybody knew what he was doing. After scoring a touchdown to go up 48-21, Harbaugh went for a two-point conversion.
The PAC-10 has caught up to USC, and teams are having no problem kicking them while they are down. The lost at Oregon was the worst lost in Pete Carroll's coaching tenure, and the 55 points that Stanford scored was the most points that an opponent has ever scored on a USC team in the history of their program.
A number of blue chip PAC-10 players have bypassed USC over the past couple years because the Trojans were so deep and they feared that they would not get enough playing time. Stanford's Gerhard is the perfect example of that.
The talent level is more evenly spread over the conference, and teams are no longer fearing the Trojans. Even in USC's wins they are just getting by. They struggled with a below average Arizona St team, only scoring one offensive touchdown, which came off of a short pass that wide receiver Damian Williams turned into a 75 yard touchdown. USC won 14-9 in a very unimpressive manner.
At this point the entire PAC-10 should feel pretty good about their chances against USC, especially rival UCLA, who are the Trojans next opponent. A month ago that game had blowout loss written all over it for UCLA, but now, they have to feel like they have a shot.
Does this mean that USC's run of domination is over?
Probably not. They were not going to win the PAC-10 forever. At some point they had to have an off year. At some point losing a lot of talent to the NFL, losing blue chip high school recruits to other programs, and losing assistant coaches to other schools was going to cost the Trojans. But USC can still attract the best players in the nation, and they pay top dollar for their coaches. They will not be down for long.
When Barkley matures into one of the top quarterbacks in the nation, which could happen next year, and some of the other young players fill the void left by players leaving to the NFL, the Trojans will be back on top. So the rest of the PAC-10 better kick USC while they can, because they have not had this type of opportunity in years, and they might not get this chance again for a while.