Thursday, September 6, 2007

Mulligan

So I log onto YouTube and check out one of my favorite videos: USC highlights from their thrashing of Oklahoma in the 2005 Orange, to capture their second consecutive national title. College football trash talk was abound on the message boards, and I chimed in politely that I consider the featured Trojans club to be the best of my lifetime.

My initial post:

Greatest college football team of my lifetime. I think everybody gives 2001 Miami the nod over this SC team because of all of the future NFL stars on their roster that year, but it's not like they were all playing at the same time. USC had a better coach and beat a MUCH better team in their BCS title game than Miami did.

To which jasonth13 responded:

You are a f-----g idiot. Look at the rest of the season, not just the bowl game.

Whoa, whoa, whoa, big fella. Relax. Now usually, I;d just let this slide. It's really stupid. There's nothing worse than an internet gangster. But talking about sports...that's what I do. And I wasn't about to just sit up and let that foo' play me like dat, talk to me like I'm some kinda sucka or somethin', ya feel me? Cause I ain't no punk, ya dig? I don't play dat. I'm a soldier, B. I'm down for whatever, dun.

(Just wanted to give you a little example of what a YouTube gangster talks like, in case you weren't familiar with their kind.)

So I had to come back on him. Here goes the rest of our debate, including a couple of comments from GaToRGaL1224, who joined in on the backend of things:

bigantho1 (that's me):

I still think if they were to play each other in a college football game, USC would win. When they were in college, you would rather have had Leinart, Bush and White, Smith and Jarrett, and Dominique Byrd on offense than Dorsey, Portis and Gore, Andre Johnson and Kevin Beard and Jeremy Shockey. Also, USC had four first-team All Americans on defense that year, Miami only had one. And you're a f-----g idiot for calling me a f-----g idiot. Everybody's just giving their opinion.

jasonth13:

Michigan had four first-team AAs in 2004, and that team lost three games. Talk about the play on the field. That Miami defense throttled everyone it faced. USC's defense, while excellent, did not. USC also played many more close games than 2001 Miami. They simply weren't as dominant. Your opinion sucks.

bigantho1:

For one, you have to realize that the quality of the teams and level of competition from year to year is not consistent. College football was better in 2004 than it was in 2001, no question. USC faced more impressive opponents in 2004 than Miami did in 2001, no question. I don't know about you, but I remember. College football was weaker in 2001 than it was in 2004; the teams weren't as good, dummy.

bigantho1:

You have to consider all of the factors when discussing something like this.

jasonth13:

You really are a blithering dumbf--k. USC eeked out wins against horrible Stanford and UCLA teams. A Cal team that got destroyed in its bowl game more than doubled USC up in yardage.

There's a reason that hardly anyone but USC homers shares your opinion. It's an idiotic opinion.

bigantho1:

This from the man who once said that you should look at the whole season and not just the bowl game. Cal went 10-2 that year. Miami was the only great team in 2001; there really were no challengers to their throne.

GaToRGaL1224:

clinton portis, ed reed, shawn taylor who didn't even start, johnathan vilma, frank gore, jeremy shockey, andre johnson, willis mcgahee yeah usc in 2004 was way better than them, not to mention vince wilfork, dj williams, first round draft pick after first round draft pick miami was soo good that year larry coker couldn't even screw it up he just had to stay out of the way, miami didn't struggle to beat rugters like usc did with stanford

GaToRGaL1224:

from 2001 to 2004 is that 3 years or thirty years miami in 01 dominated nebraska in 95 dominated, all time great teams shouldn't have to rally to beat stanford, or need a goal line stand to be cal when cal dominated the game, all everyone remembers with sc that year was the bowl game which was really impressive but you have to look at the season to

bigantho1:

For one, you kind of made my point. Sean Taylor, Willis McGahee, Frank Gore, Kellen Winslow...not starters. Backups. Forget about them. We didn't even know who they were then. You would rather have Leinart, Bush, White, Jarrett, Smith, their defense that year than what Miami had. USC's players were better in college. Forget about the NFL.

bigantho1:

And three years is enough time for the landscape of a sport to change. The NBA is completely different in 2007 than it was in 2004. Miami was the only team of it's kind in 2001; by 2004, the best teams were faster and had more athletic gamebreakers than in 2001. Texas, SC, Florida, LSU and so on, the recruiting of speed by the top contenders continues to advance.

bigantho1:

For Jasonth13, to follow up, in 2004 we had an unbeaten Auburn team that had two running backs, playing at the same time, who would be top 5 picks that April. We had an unbeaten Utah team with a QB who would be the no. 1 pick that April. We had a one-loss Texas team led by Vince Young.


Now...I'm a man. And I'm man enough to admit that I was wrong, and I'm man enough to admit when I lost an argument. And I lost this argument. As I'm beginning to realize, I really have become a USC homer over the past several years. I'd always considered myself to be more of an admirer than a real fan. From where I sit, that really wouldn't make them any different from the Patriots, another team I appreciate for their excellence - expect from the fact that the SC campus is about 20 minutes from my house. At night, when they're playing home games at the Coliseum, I can stand in my backyard and hear the stadium announcer from over the loudspeaker. The early stages of my jumping onto the bandwagon probably came during the 2006 Rose Bowl versus Texas, when the Trojans lost their 34-game win streak and bid for an unprecedented third straigt title at the hands of the great Vince Young. I was affected. Sad even. Didn't realize it then, but I had become a fan.

We don't have a pro football team in Los Angeles, and USC has served as such. As good as they've been over the past several years (they're 60-6 since 2002, Pete Carroll's second year here, losing those games by a grand total of 22 points), we've almost forgotten that we don't have one. I don't know how long it's gonna last; definitely as long as Carroll stays around, but after last offseason and the meetings with Wayne Huizenga and what not, that may not be for much longer. He seems to be genuinely intrigued by the NFL. But I do know that I'll never forget what it's been like here for the past five or so years. The Matt/Reggie teams transcended college football. They attracted unheard of media attention for a college football team. With the Lakers down, they owned the city. This current group, led by John David Booty, doesn't have quite the same effect: they aren't as explosive or electrifying or awe-inspiring, and they don't make you feel like you're watching anything special, that you may never see again. But because of their ridiculous depth, Carroll believes that this has the potential to be the best team he's had. They don't rebuild, they reload. Winning has breeded all of this, and the USC football program of this 21st century has won about as often as possible and more than anyone has in a long time.

And that appreciation and respect and that I've garnered for Carroll's empire was on my mind when I was making my argument. Since there's no way to suit them up in a fantasy game, I've always believed that when comparing champions from different years, you have to judge them based on their dominance in respect to the year that they won. And with that in mind, there is no way that I can say that USC was more dominant in 2004 than Miami was in 2001. Miami had a bigger margin of victory and only won one game by more less than 10 points. USC, by contrast, played three such games. Miami averaged more points (42.6 to 38.2) and allowed fewer (9.8 to 13.0). They beat two more ranked teams. Their opponents had a higher overall win percentage, so overall, I can't say that USC played a harder schedule. I made those comments before actually doing the math. My bad.

And the stuff about the landscape of college football changing from 2001 to 2004? Nonsense. And when I said that there were better teams in 2004, what I really meant to say was that USC and Miami were clearly the best teams those two years...but the other top teams in 2004, the best of the rest (Auburn, Utah, Oklahoma, Texas) were better than their 2001 counterpoints (Oregon, Florida, Tennessee, Texas). (At least, that's what I wish I would have said.) That's just based on watching the games and the quality of the teams I saw play. Regardless, it's irrelevant in this conversation, as there are no playoffs in college football.

Do I still think that USC would beat that Miami team in a college football game? Yes, I do. I think their team speed would have matched Miami's. I think they had a comparable defense. I think they had better playmakers on offense. I think USC beat three teams in 2004 (Oklahoma, Cal, and Virginia Tech) that were better than anyone Miami beat in 2001. They had a better coaching staff, led by the defensive-minded Carroll, who in his tenure here has contained pretty much every offense he has faced that didn't have Vince Young on it.

But you can't look at it that way, because we don't live in a fantasy world and that game cannot and will not ever be played. So there's no way to really know. But if the argument is which team was more dominant in the year that they won, 2001 Miami or 2004 USC? It's Miami in 2001. And I should have never made an argument stating otherwise.

1 comment:

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