USC Football: End of a quasquicentennial chapter

USC Football

The graphic USC designed for the occasion. It also appeared on the back of the football helmets during the 2013 season (Photo credits: USC Athletics)

With 125 years of football under USC’s belt, it stands as one of the oldest college football programs.

Actually, though, they did not have a team in 1890, and like many other California schools, they gave up football for rugby from 1911-1913 because of the primitive nature and violence of the game back in the early 1900s. So it is probably more like 122 years. It would be more correct to say USC Football started 125 years ago, but really it is just a technicality at this point.

Coincidentally, it was also around the end of the BCS era and the year of the 100th Rose Bowl Game. USC has left its mark on these and the rest of college football.

Across College Football

USC had the most players drafted all-time (484)

They are also tied with Ohio State and Notre Dame for the most Heisman Trophies (7). During the four year stretch from 2002 to 2005, USC won three out of four Heisman trophies.

The Trojans tie for second with Michigan and Notre Dame for total claimed national championships by FBS schools (11) despite not winning one since the end of the 2004 season.

USC is also second in total bowl wins with a 33-17 record. Alabama holds a two victory lead at 35-23-3.

Speaking of bowls, USC has highest winning percentage in bowls out of those with 20 or more appearances (.660).

USC is part of an elite group of ten schools to have more than 800 wins all time. The others are Michigan, Texas, Notre Dame, Nebraska, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Alabama, Tennessee, and Penn State. The Trojans are the only representative from the Pac-12, while the Big Ten has four, the SEC has two, and the Big 12 and two.

Just in the BCS

USC is the only team west of the Rocky Mountains to win a BCS National Championship, defeating Oklahoma 55-19 following the 2004 season. Oregon managed one appearance, but lost on a last second field to Auburn. USC had another appearance following the 2005 season, losing late to Texas 38-41.

USC may not own the most appearances in BCS bowls (Ohio State has that honor with 10), but the Trojans have the most consecutive BCS bowl appearances, playing in seven straight from 2003-2009 (following the 2002-2008 seasons).

Of all the schools that appeared in three or more BCS bowl games, USC has the highest winning percentage in those bowls (.857).

Keep in mind, USC has not been to a BCS bowl in five years.

The Historic Rose Bowl

One hundred Rose Bowls makes statistics really easy to calculate.

USC has appeared in 33 Rose Bowls, by far the most out of any school. That means they have been in 33 percent or nearly one third of all appearances in “The Granddaddy of them All.” The next closest is Michigan with 20 appearances, though they haven’t even managed to win half of them. The Wolverines have an 8-12 record.

USC has won it more times than Michigan has appeared. The Trojans hold a 24-9 record in the bowl. That’s right, folks— they have more Rose Bowl wins than some teams have bowl wins— or even appearances.

One more mind-blowing fact: USC has more Rose Bowl wins (24) than losing seasons (19)— and that includes the lovely “seasons” that had somewhere between one to five games between 1896 and 1902 when losing one or two games could mean you had a losing season. For reference, Utah became a state in 1896 and Hawaii was annexed in 1898.

The Trojans have accomplished a lot in the quasquicentennial history of the program. With any luck, the next 125 years could be even better for USC. It all happens one game at a time— starting with the Bulldogs in August.