Thoughts for Tuesday: The perfect pair
It’s not surprising to see Alabama’s Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson listed as the best backfield tandem for 2010. You can hardly go wrong with a Heisman Trophy winner paired with someone I believe is more talented than he is. But then you have some debates that take it a step further, questioning the pair’s place in history and suggesting the duo may be making a run as the best all time.
A step in this direction shows how quickly some have forgotten the efforts of Reggie Bush and LenDale White, a tandem that would easily appear on lists of greats. Before Bush and White became a part of the Trojans resurgence, Charles White and Marcus Allen shared the duties, and each would eventually etch themselves in Heisman stone.
Labeling Richardson and Ingram the all time greatest in anything is a bit premature. Let the scenario play out and then judge against the field. There are plenty of programs ready to stake a claim and offer their baller carriers for judgment. And though Southern California is just one of many, it may provide the best argument.
Middle of the Pac
Lane Kiffin isn’t the only one that believes the talent pool at USC is shallower than his last stint with the program. Scout.com released their Pac 10 position rankings last week, and Matt Barkley ranks fourth among the league’s quarterbacks, which is the highest of all Trojan positions. Allen Bradford ranked 5th among conference running backs, with Ronald Johnson 6th among receivers, and Jordon Cameron 7th among tight ends.
In comparison, on the national scale a year ago, Athlon rated the USC receiving corps best overall. The offensive line also appeared above all schools, and the stable of running backs placed 4th. Of course, this all resulted in one of the nation’s worst third down efficiency ratings and a fifth place conference finish. For what it’s worth, Scout also rated Aaron Corp the highest of all Pac 10 quarterbacks in 2009.
Corn husks wouldn’t appear on my list of hallucinogens, but one writer with an obvious allegiance to Nebraska makes me wonder if those burning skins could actually produce a high. His Bleacher Report article lacks substance. So much in fact, that I can’t figure out if it’s a truthful take or meant to be a joke. The claim theory is that USC’s most recent rise to power is directly connected to Nebraska’s elimination of its walk-on program. Pete Carroll and others across the nation are said to be beneficiaries, while the Huskers destined themselves to decline. The only support reach is the Trojan rise in 2002 coinciding with the Huskers’ fall during the same period, with the roles reversing in 2009, after the walk-on program was reinstated.
Not that I have knowledge of this walk-on program and its effect in Lincoln, but I’m pretty sure the Empire wasn’t powered by corn fed Midwestern walk-ons. The most notable walk-ons during the seven year run were Clay Matthews and David Buehler. One comes from a Trojan football bloodline, and the other was Southern California raised. I doubt Nebraska was ever part of their thought process, and neither appeared on Carroll’s championship rosters.
The word comes from ESPN that the NCAA will announce the fate of USC athletics on Friday. After a prolonged wait, no verdict can be bad. I’d just like to have closure, so we can pick up the pieces and start moving forward.