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Monday, December 26, 2005

ESPN's USC Analysis

I'm just wondering how many other people are completely put off by ESPN's current daily comparisons of USC to the best teams over the last half century. The 1955 OU vs 2005 USC "comparison" was what reminded me of this thought that I've had before. And I think this isn't isolated to USC, but rather is applicable to any "all-time" analysis.

The fundamental issue to this is relating eras. USC is obviously the better team when compared to a team that played with leather helmets in the 50s! I mean - sure I'll take the guy with the plastic helmet and facemask over a guy who is going to potentially shatter his face when he tackles!

Or look at the size, athleticsm, and complexity of the game. I'll take USC's 300 pound offensive linemen over the 200 pound defensive linemen of past eras. Not to mention current schemes are much more complex than old ones. You can look as recently as Nebraska for evidence. You simply cannot run the wishbone effectively today with the way big players run these days.

So what you really have to do is look at their season-long "body of work". You look at how they were (if they were) challenged by teams on their schedule, where they played the games, and then a position-by-position analysis. By this comparison, I'll take the USC teams of the 2003 and 2004 over this one!

For a good comparison, Don Shula even says the 1972 Dolphins weren't his best team. They just had the best record.

My point is if you're going to compare a team from one year to another, you need to go deeper than a 1:1 comparison. And by that measure, USC is not better than half the teams they're being compared to - but rightly, commentators are picking them because they're only asked to look at players versus players.


  • very good points.

    By Blogger Sminklemeyer, at 7:38 AM  

  • I am also highly annoyed that they are even having this discussion until after the Rose Bowl. When UT pulls off the upset this whole series will look pretty stupid.

    By Blogger Beermen Sports, at 8:10 AM  

  • I have to totally agree with your line of thinking. I would say that head to head they would win, but if you look at how other teams of the past demoralized their opponents much like the Nebraska team of a few years back, it is hard to say USC is the best team ever.

    By Anonymous Tschilling, at 6:17 PM  

  • another way to look at it is style. who has or had the more innovative style at the time. but the comparison is ludicrous. would we compare bill gates to einstein?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:18 PM  

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    By Anonymous fantasy football, at 12:19 PM  

  • great topic, keep up the great posts, MMA

    By Blogger Erik Mann, at 12:56 PM  

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