With eight true freshmen making 52 starts, a common refrain this season is how bright things will be down the road.
I didn’t listen but I’ve received emails today saying radio host Colin Cowherd said USC has eight-or-nine starters now that will not start in two years. If he said it, why not name them? I’d say the number is actually lower than that.
But my point is this “just you wait for the future” attitude is not a winning idea. Pete Carroll didn’t wait. Nick Saban doesn’t wait. Urban Meyer doesn’t wait. And I don’t think Steve Sarkisian wants to wait.
And I hesitate to make this comparison because I’m not even thinking of Sarkisian. But did Washington make great improvement by saying the future would be brighter? They have won almost the same number of games the past five years.
A similar spin is being employed with men’s basketball, with four freshmen in the rotation and no seniors on the roster. That is supposed to excuse losing to Army, who last beat a Pac-12 team in 1964 and was 1-11 against the conference entering Saturday night’s victory.
TCU coach Gary Patteron won the Eddie Robinson Award today, which is the Football Writers Assn. of America’s Coach of the Year award. Patterson is now a two-time winner, just the eighth coach to win it twice. USC coach John McKay was also a two-time winner.
Pete Carroll never won the award but was a finalist three times.
Last week I mentioned how Lombardi Award winner Scooby Wright and All-American center Hroniss Grasu were not offered scholarships by USC. Neither was Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota of Oregon.
But USC was hardly alone on Mariota. Most schools did not offer him (including Washington). And if you need an example of performing under pressure, consider that Mariota had 12 touchdown passes and no interceptions in games against Michigan State, UCLA, Arizona (twice) and Utah.
Remember the knock on USC QB Cody Kessler was only four touchdown passes and three interceptions in four games against ranked teams.
How did USC fare compared to its preseason expectations? Here’s an interesting chart that compares teams’ victory total vs. their preseason total according to Las Vegas oddsmakers. USC was expected to win nine regualr-season games and won eight.
That means the Trojans tied for 78th in the rankings of all college football teams.
Now that the Heisman Trophy was awarded, I am free to reveal that I voted for Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota. But only 10 voters of nearly 1,000 did not vote Mariota first on their ballots.
I just wonder if Mariota went out tonight in Manhattan. I still have fresh memories of being part of a small group that went out the night Matt Leinart won. Among those who went were Leinart, Reggie Bush, Alex Smith and Adrian Peterson. Back then going to the Heisman felt like a USC tradition.