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USC Trojans
Current season:
2022 USC Trojans
NCAA-USC-Pac12-Trojans Helmet Logo-447px.png File-NCAA-Pac12-USC-Helmet.png
First season 1888
Athletic director Mike Bohn
Head coach Lincoln Riley
1st year, 0–0 ()
Home stadium Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
Stadium capacity 93,607
Stadium surface Grass
Location Los Angeles, California
Conference Pac-12
Division South
All-time history
USC Trojans Historical Teams
1888 1889
1890 1891 1892 1893 1894 1895 1896 1897 1898 1899
1900 1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1906 1907 1908 1909
1910 1911 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918 1919
1920 1921 1922 1923 1924 1925 1926 1927 1928 1929
1930 1931 1932 1933 1934 1935 1936 1937 1938 1939
1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949
1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959
1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969
1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979
1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989
1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
2020 2021 2022 2023 2024
All-time record 833–339–54 ()
Postseason bowl record 34–18 ()
Claimed national titles 11
Conference titles 38
Heisman winners 6
Consensus All-Americans Template:American college football All-Americans
Current uniform
Colors Cardinal and Gold


Fight song Fight On
Marching band The Spirit of Troy
Rivals Notre Dame

The USC Trojans football program, established in 1888, is a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division 1-A and the Pacific-12 Conference (Pac-12) under current head coach Clay Helton. The Trojans have been a football powerhouse throughout NCAA history, making claim to 11 national championships in total.[1] In recent years, USC has consistently ranked in the top 5 of the final BCS and AP Polls. The football team is regarded as the centerpiece of an athletic program that has won more NCAA men's individual and men's team titles than any other university and is third in co-ed team titles, behind fellow Pac-12 schools Stanford and UCLA.


The first USC football squad (1888). Before they were nicknamed the "Trojans", they were known as the USC Methodists.


USC first fielded a football team in 1888, playing its first game on November 14 of that year against the Alliance Athletic Club, gaining a 16-0 victory. Frank Suffel and Henry H. Goddard were playing coaches for the first team which was put together by quarterback Arthur Carroll; who in turn volunteered to make the pants for the team and later became a tailor.[2] USC faced its first collegiate opponent the following year in fall 1889, playing St. Vincent’s College to a 40-0 victory.[2]

Before they were named Trojans in 1912, USC athletic teams were called the Methodists, as well as the Wesleyans. During the early years, limitations in travel and the scarcity of major football-playing colleges on the West Coast limited its rivalries to local Southern Californian colleges and universities. During this period USC played regular series against Occidental, CalTech, Whittier, Pomona and Loyola. The first USC team to play outside of Southern California went to Stanford University on November 4, 1905, where they were trampled 16-0 by the traditional West Coast powerhouse. While the teams would not meet again until 1918 (Stanford dropped football for rugby union during the intervening years), this was also USC's first game against a future Pac-12 conference opponent and the beginning of its oldest rivalry. During this period USC also played its first games against other future Pac-12 rivals, including Oregon State (1914), California (1915), Oregon (1915) and Arizona (1916).

Between 1911-1913, USC followed the example of California and Stanford and dropped football in favor of rugby union. The results were disastrous, as USC was roundly defeated by more experienced programs while the school itself experienced financial reverses; however, it was during this period that Owen R. Bird, a sportswriter for the Los Angeles Times, coined the nickname "Trojans" which we wrote was "owing to the terrific handicaps under which the athletes, coaches and managers of the university were laboring and against the overwhelming odds of larger and better equipped rivals, the name 'Trojan' suitably fitted the players."[2]


File:Interlocking University of Southern California logo.png

USC Athletic Department logo

After several decades of competition, USC first achieved national prominence under head coach "Gloomy" Gus Henderson in the early 1920s. Success continued under coach Howard Jones from 1925 to 1940, when the Trojans were just one of a few nationally dominant teams. It was during this era that the team achieved renown as the "Thundering Herd", earning its first four national titles.


USC achieved intermittent success in the years following Jones' tenure. Jeff Cravath, who coached from 1942-1950, won the Rose Bowl in 1943 and 1945. Jess Hill, who coached from 1951 to 1956, won the Rose Bowl in 1953.


Mike Garrett's Retired Jersey

The program entered a new golden age upon the arrival of head coach John McKay (1960-1975). During this period the Trojans produced 2 Heisman Trophies and won 4 national championships. McKay's influence continued even after he departed for the NFL when an assistant coach, John Robinson (1976-1982), took over as head coach. Under Robinson USC won an additional national championship in 1978 and two players garnered 2 Heisman Trophy honors.

On September 12, 1970, USC opened the season visiting the University of Alabama under legendary coach Paul "Bear" Bryant and became the first fully integrated team to play in the state of Alabama.[3] The game, scheduled by Bryant, resulted in a domineering 42-21 win by the Trojans. More importantly, all six touchdowns scored by USC team were by African-American players, two by USC running back Sam "Bam" Cunningham, against an all-white Crimson Tide team.[4] The game hastened the racial integration of football at Alabama and in the South.[5][3]


In the 1980s, USC football did not realize a national championship, though it continued to experience relative success, with top-20 AP rankings and PAC-10 Conference Championships. Under head coaches Ted Tollner (1983-1986) and Larry Smith (1987-1992), each winning the Rose Bowl once, USC was recognized among the nation's top-ten teams three times. However, some alumni had grown accustomed to the programs' stature as a perennial national championship contender. In 1993, Robinson was named head coach a second time, leading the Trojans to a victory in the 1996 Rose Bowl over Northwestern.

However, losing streaks of 11 years (1983-1993) to intersectional rival Notre Dame and 8 years (1991-1998) to crosstown rival UCLA were unacceptable to some USC supporters. In 1998, head coach Paul Hackett took over the team, but posted an even more disappointing 19-18 record in three seasons. By 2000, some observers surmised that USC football's days of national dominance were fading; the football team's record of 37-35 from 1996 to 2001 was their second-worst over any five-year span in history (only the mark of 29-29-2 from 1956-1961 was worse), and the period marked the first and only time USC had been out of the final top 20 teams for four straight years.


The Coliseum during a 2006 USC game

In 2001, athletic director Mike Garrett (the 1965 Heisman winner) released Hackett and hired Pete Carroll, a former NFL head coach. Carroll went 6-6 in his first year, losing to Utah in the Las Vegas Bowl, 10-6.

USC opened 3-2 in 2002, suffering losses to Kansas State and Washington State. However, the Trojans went on to win the rest of their games, completing the regular season 11-2 on the strength of senior quarterback Carson Palmer's breakout performance. After struggling for most of his collegiate career, Palmer excelled in the West Coast offense installed by new offensive coordinator Norm Chow. In fact, Palmer's performance, particularly in the season-ending rivalry games against Notre Dame and UCLA, impressed so many pundits that he went on to win the Heisman Trophy, carrying every region of voting and becoming the first USC quarterback to be so honored. Despite tying for the Pacific-10 Conference title (with Washington State), having the highest BCS "strength of schedule" rating, and fielding the nation's top defense led by safety Troy Polamalu, USC finished the season ranked No. 5 in the BCS rankings. Facing off against BCS No. 3 Iowa in the Orange Bowl, USC defeated the Hawkeyes 38-17.

In 2003, highly touted but unproven redshirt sophomore Matt Leinart took over for Palmer at quarterback. Although his first pass went for a touchdown in a win over Auburn, the Trojans suffered an early season triple-overtime loss to conference rival California in Berkeley. Nevertheless, Carroll guided the team to wins in their remaining games and they completed the regular season 11-1. Before the postseason, both the coaches' poll and the AP Poll ranked USC number #1, but the BCS - which also gave consideration to computer rankings - ranked Oklahoma first, another one-loss team but one that had lost its own Big 12 Conference title game 35-7, with USC ranked third.

In the 2003 BCS National Championship Game, the Sugar Bowl , BCS #2 LSU defeated BCS #1 Oklahoma 21-14. Meanwhile, BCS #3 USC defeated BCS #4 Michigan 28-14 in the Rose Bowl. USC finished the season ranked #1 in the AP poll and was awarded the AP National Championship; LSU, however, won the BCS National Championship title for that year, prompting a split national title between LSU and USC. In the wake of the controversy, corporate sponsors emerged who were willing to organize an LSU-USC game to settle the matter; nevertheless, the NCAA refused to permit the matchup.

Carson Palmer's Heisman

In 2004, USC was picked #1 in the preseason by the Associated Press, thanks to the return of Leinart as well as sophomore running backs LenDale White and Reggie Bush. The defense—led by All-American defensive tackles Shaun Cody and Mike Patterson, as well as All-American linebackers Lofa Tatupu and Matt Grootegoed—was considered to be among the finest in the nation. Key questions included the offensive line, with few returning starters, and the receiving corps, which had lost last year's senior Keary Colbert and the breakout star of 2003, Mike Williams. Williams had tried to enter the NFL draft a year early during the Maurice Clarett trial, only to be rebuffed by the NFL and subsequently denied eligibility by the NCAA.

Despite close calls against Stanford and California, the Trojans finished the season undefeated and headed for the 2004 BCS Championship at the Orange Bowl. USC was the second team in NCAA football history to have gone wire-to-wire (ranked first place from preseason to postseason since the AP began releasing preseason rankings); the first was Florida State in 1999 (three other schools went wire-to-wire before the existence of preseason polls - Notre Dame in 1943, Army in 1945 and USC in 1972). Quarterback Leinart won the Heisman Trophy, with running back Bush placing fifth in the vote tally. The Trojans' opponent in the Orange Bowl, Oklahoma, were themselves undefeated and captained by sixth-year quarterback Jason White, who had won the Heisman in 2003; the game marked the first time in NCAA history that two players who had already won the Heisman played against each other. Most analysts expected the game to be close—as USC matched its speed and defense against the Oklahoma running game and skilled offensive line—but the reality proved to be far different. USC scored 38 points by halftime, and won by the score of 55-19. USC won the BCS and AP national championships, despite both Auburn and Utah finishing their seasons and post-seasons undefeated.

Matt Leinart's Heisman Trophy

The 2005 regular season witnessed a resuscitation of the Notre Dame/USC rivalry on a last second play where Senior Quarterback Matt Leinart scored the winning touchdown with help from a controversial push from behind by running back Reggie Bush, nicknamed the "Bush Push". The year climaxed with USC defeating cross-town rival UCLA 66-19 and running back Reggie Bush finishing his stellar year by winning the Heisman Trophy. Matt Leinart finished third in the Heisman voting. Several other players also earned accolades, being named All-Americans (AP, Football Coaches, Football Writers, Walter Camp,,, CBS,, These include QB Matt Leinart, RB Reggie Bush, RB LenDale White, S Darnell Bing, OT Taitusi Lutui, OT Sam Baker, WR Dwayne Jarrett, C Ryan Kalil, OG Fred Matua, and DE Lawrence Jackson. Additionally, OL Winston Justice did well enough to forgo his senior year and go professional. However, USC's hopes for another national championship were dashed by the Texas Longhorns, in a dramatic 41-38 loss at the 2006 Rose Bowl.

For the 2006 football season, USC was forced to attempt to rebuild following the loss of offensive stalwarts Leinart, Bush, and White, defensive leader Bing, and offensive linemen Matua, Justice, and Lutui. The Trojans developed their offense using unproven QB John David Booty and returning star receivers Dwayne Jarrett and Steve Smith along with second-year WR Patrick Turner. Mark Sanchez, the highly-touted recruit from the class of 2005 (Mission Viejo High School, CA) was widely viewed as a dark horse to win the starting job from Booty, although Booty was named the starter at the end of fall training camp. The starting tailback position was initially a battle between returning players Chauncey Washington and Desmond Reed (both recovering from injuries) and heralded RB recruits Stafon Johnson (Dorsey High School in Los Angeles), C.J. Gable, Allen Bradford and Emmanuel Moody (Coppell High School in Coppell, Texas).

USC had many experienced players as well, including linebacker Dallas Sartz and wide receiver Chris McFoy, who have already graduated with their bachelors degrees and are pursuing Masters degrees to be eligible for one last year of college football. Fullback Brandon Hancock would have been part of that group as well until an injury ended his collegiate career. Additionally, fifth year (redshirt) senior linebacker Oscar Lua, running back Ryan Powdrell and offensive lineman Kyle Williams were expected to either start or play frequently in 2006.

The 2006 Trojans came out strong, easily defending their top-10 status throughout the year. However, USC began to display marked inconsistencies, as their margins of victory began to slip. The first setback proved to be a 31-33 loss to unranked Oregon State, in which the Beavers were able to repeatedly capitalize on several Trojan turnovers. Surprisingly, though USC dropped initially in the polls, they worked their way back up to the No. 3 spot by the final week of the season. After defeating both Notre Dame and Cal, the Trojans were considered to be a virtual lock for the National Championship Game against Ohio State. However, USC was shocked in the final game of the season, losing to crosstown rival UCLA 13-9. This eliminated the Trojans from championship contention and opened the door for Florida to become Ohio State's opponent.

During Pete Carroll's six years as head coach, USC has lost only one game by more than seven points, that being a 27-16 loss at Notre Dame in his first season. The 21st century has also seen the rise of USC football's popularity in the Los Angeles market: without any stadium expansions, USC has broken its average home attendance record four times in a row: reaching 77,804 in 2003, 85,229 in 2004, 90,812 in 2005 and over 91,416 with one game to go in 2006 (the capacity of the Coliseum is 92,000).

On January 6, 2007, 6 days after the 2007 Rose Bowl, USC kicker Mario Danelo was found dead at the bottom of the White Point Cliff near Point Fermin Lighthouse in San Pedro, California.

In July 2007, named USC it's #1 team of the decade for the period between 1996 and 2006, citing the Trojans' renaissance and dominance under Coach Carroll.[6][7]

The 2007 Trojans were the presumptive #1 pick before the season.[8][9] However they lost two games, including a major upset to 41-point underdog Stanford, and they did not get into the National Championship game. However, the Trojans did win their sixth conference championship and defeated Illinois in the Rose Bowl Game on New Year's Day 2008.

Under Carroll, USC has been known to attract numerous celebrities to its practices, including USC alumni Will Ferrell, George Lucas, LeVar Burton and Sophia Bush as well as Snoop Dogg, Henry Winkler, Kirsten Dunst, Nick Lachey, Dr. Dre, Spike Lee, Alyssa Milano, Flea, Wilmer Valderrama, Jake Gyllenhaal and Andre 3000.[10] The Trojans have also benefited from LA's lack of NFL teams (with the LA Rams and Raiders having left in 1995), combined with the Trojans 21st century success, leading them to sometimes be called LA's "de facto NFL team."[11]

As of 2007, USC is one of only five of the 119 Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) teams to have never played a Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) team since the division was made in 1978.[12]

By topic

Tailback U


Reggie Bush's Heisman

"Tailback U" is a nickname that emerged when Hall of Fame college football coach John McKay ('60-'75) and successor John Robinson ('76-'82) began producing a number of top-rated players at the tailback position such as Mike Garrett, O.J. Simpson, Anthony Davis, Ricky Bell, Charles White, and Marcus Allen. Coach Pete Carroll has continued the trend in recent years with Heisman Trophy winning tailback Reggie Bush and current NFL players LenDale White and Justin Fargas.

Coach McKay's play calling emphasized and refined the run, taking full advantage of his quality backs-a trend followed by his former offensive coordinator and immediate successor, John Robinson. Carroll has had success and Heisman winners, both at Quarterback and Running Back.


A recent tradition has a selected linebacker wearing the number 55. The number cannot be taken but is assigned by the head coach. Pete Carroll has, at times, refrained from assigning the number if he does not think any player is worthy. The player wearing #55 is typically regarded as the anchor of the defense.

Notable players who have worn #55 for USC include Junior Seau, Willie McGinest, Markus Steele, and Chris Claiborne; Seau, McGinest and Claiborne were all top-10 picks in the NFL Draft.[13]. Senior Keith Rivers is the most recent #55 to be selected in the top ten. The Cincinnati Bengals made him the ninth overall selection in the 2008 draft.


In the first 30 years of USC football, the school maintained rivalries with local Southern California schools like Occidental and Pomona, but these ended by the 1920s as USC grew into a national caliber team.

A "Perfect Day"

A "Perfect Day" (a phrase created by the school's football announcer Peter Arbogast) to any USC fan is a USC win, coupled with losses by ND, and UCLA. The last regular season "Perfect Day" occurred on November 10, 2007, when USC beat California, UCLA lost to Arizona State, and ND lost to Air Force.

Notre Dame
  • Main article: Notre Dame-USC rivalry

The First Jeweled Shillelagh

USC plays the University of Notre Dame each year for the Jeweled Shillelagh. A majority of Trojan alumni and fans consider the Notre Dame Fighting Irish to be USC’s greatest gridiron rival. The intersectional game has featured more national championship teams, Heisman trophy winners, All-Americans, and future NFL hall-of-famers than any other collegiate match-up. The two schools have kept the annual game on their schedules since 1926 (except 1942-44 because of World War II travel restrictions) despite the fact that it enjoys neither the possibility of acquiring regional “bragging rights” nor the import of intra-league play that drive most rivalries. The game is often referred to as the greatest intersectional rivalry in college football.[14]

  • Main article: UCLA-USC rivalry

USC currently possesses the Victory Bell.

USC's rivalry with UCLA is unique in that they are the only two Division I-A programs in major a BCS conferences that share a major city. Both are within L.A. city limits, approximately 10 miles apart. Until 1983 the two schools also shared the same stadium: The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

The crosstown rivals play each year for city bragging rights and the Victory Bell; and often for the right to go to the Rose Bowl. The UCLA rivalry tends to draw the focus of student supporters since many USC students have friends or family members attending "that other school" (of course, many UCLA students refer to their USC friends in the same way) and many Southern California families are evenly divided between Trojan Cardinal and Bruin Blue.

USC UCLA Lexus Gauntlet.

The USC/UCLA rivalry runs so deep that when the Trojan Marching Band plays one of their most famous tunes Tusk at any of their games...the crowd will be heard singing along "u-c-l-a- sucks."


Stanford is USC's oldest rival,[15] in a series that dates to 1905. In the early years of football on the West Coast, the power sat in the Bay Area with the Stanford-Cal rivalry and USC rose to challenge the two established programs. During the early and mid-20th century Stanford football occasionally enjoyed periods of great regional success on the gridiron. USC and Stanford, being two major private universities on the west coast naturally drew the ire of one another. In recent history, however, Stanford has not maintained their earlier success and the rivalry has faded to many USC fans; although many Stanford fans retain a hatred for SC.[15] Recent highlights of this rivalry include a 24-23 upset of No. 2 USC by Stanford, in Los Angeles, on 6 Oct. 2007.


Like Stanford, the University of California, Berkeley also had an early rivalry with USC, with Cal fans maintaining a one-sided hatred for USC for many years after USC fans started to focus more on the nearby campus of UCLA.[15] However, after USC’s triple overtime loss to California in 2003, some began to suggest that a new budding rivalry between the Trojans and the Golden Bears was taking shape within the Pac-10. A close 2004 game between the two teams furthered feelings of a rivalry. Talk diminished with USC's lopsided victory in Berkeley in 2005; however, the importance of the 2006 USC-Cal game, which decided the Pac-10's BCS berth, has rekindled rivalry talk. Cal's marketing of the USC-Cal game suggests the game has reached rivalry status. California's regular season schedule alternatives between home games against Standford, Cal's historic rival, and USC. Incoming students are given free tickets to most Cal home games with the exception of Stanford and USC.[16]

Fight On

A phrase commonly used by Trojan fans to greet one another, show support for the team, and is borrowed from the fight song of the same name. i.e. "Fight On For Old S.C./Our men Fight On to Victory..." The two finger "V" salute for Victory is often given in accompaniment.

Records and Results

Results vs. AP Top 10 opponents

USC's record against AP Top 10 opponents (2001-present)

Season Opponent Result Game
2014 #10 Arizona W, 28-26 regular season
2013 #5 Stanford W, 20-17 regular season
2012 #1 Notre Dame L, 22-13 regular season
2012 #2 Oregon L, 62-51 regular season
2011 #4 Oregon W, 38-35 regular season
2011 #4 Stanford L, 56-48 (3 OT) regular season
2010 #1 Oregon State L, 52-32 regular season
2009 #10 Oregon State L, 20-47 regular season
2009 #8 Ohio State W, 18-15 regular season
2008 #8 Penn State W, 38-24 Rose Bowl
2008 #7 Ohio State W, 34-7 regular season
2007 #7 Arizona State W, 44-24 regular season
2007 #5 Oregon L, 17-24 regular season
2006 #3 Michigan W, 32-18 Rose Bowl
2006 #6 Notre Dame W, 44-24 regular season
2005 #2 Texas L, 38-41 Rose Bowl*
2005 #9 Notre Dame W, 34-31 regular season
2004 #2 Oklahoma W, 55-19 Orange Bowl*
2004 #7 California W, 23-17 regular season
2003 #4 Michigan W, 28-14 Rose Bowl
2003 #6 Washington State W, 43-16 regular season
2003 #6 Auburn W, 23-0 regular season
2002 #3 Iowa W, 38-17 Orange Bowl
2002 #7 Notre Dame W, 44-13 regular season
2001 #7 Oregon L, 22-24 regular season
* National Championship

Current Streaks

Wins Type of Record
Wins vs. Notre Dame: 6 School Record
Pac-10 Conference Championships: 6 Pac-10 Record (Note: the 2002, 2006, and 2007 titles were shared.)
Games won in November

(since 2001):

BCS Appearances 6 FBS (I-A) record
≥11 win seasons 6 FBS (I-A) record

Season records


Bold indicates a National Championship-winning team.

Year Record Win % Conf. finish Bowl appearance
1888 2-0 1.000 --
1889 2-0 1.000 --
1890 No Varsity
1891 1-2 .333 --
1892 No Varsity
1893 3-1 .750 --
1894 1-0 1.000 --
1895 0-1-1 .000 --
1896 0-3 .000 --
1897 5-1 .833 --
1898 5-1-1 .714 --
1899 2-3-1 .333 --
1900 1-1-1 .333 --


Bold indicates a National Championship-winning team.

Year Record Win % Conf. finish Bowl appearance
1901 0-1 .000 --
1902 2-3 .400 --
1903 4-2 .667 --
1904 6-1 .857 --
1905 6-3-1 .600 --
1906 2-0-2 .500 --
1907 5-1 .833 --
1908 3-1-1 .600 --
1909 3-1-2 .500 --
1910 7-0-1 .875 --
1911 Rugby
1912 Rugby
1913 Rugby
1914 4-3 .571 --
1915 3-4 .429 --
1916 5-3 .625 --
1917 4-2-1 .571 --
1918 2-2-2 .333 --
1919 4-1 .800 --
1920 6-0 1.000 --
1921 10-1 .909 --
1922 10-1 .909 4th PCC Beat Penn State 14-3 in the Rose Bowl
1923 6-2 .750 T3rd PCC
1924 9-2 .818 5th PCC Beat Missouri 20-7 in the Christmas Festival Bowl
1925 11-2 .846 T3rd PCC


Bold indicates a National Championship-winning team.

Year Record Win % Conf. finish Bowl appearance
1926 8-2 .800 2nd PCC
1927 8-2-1 .840 T1st PCC
1928 9-0-1 .950 1st PCC
1929 10-2 .833 1st PCC Beat Pittsburgh 47-14 in the Rose Bowl
1930 8-2 .800 2nd PCC
1931 10-1 .909 1st PCC Beat Tulane 21-12 in the Rose Bowl
1932 10-0 1.000 1st PCC Beat Pittsburgh 35-0 in the Rose Bowl
1933 10-1-1 .875 3rd PCC
1934 4-6-1 .409 7th PCC
1935 5-7 .417 8th PCC
1936 4-2-3 .611 4th PCC Beat Hawaii 38-6 in the Poi BowlA
1937 4-4-2 .500 7th PCC
1938 9-2 .818 T1st PCC Beat Duke 7-3 in the Rose Bowl
1939 8-0-2 .900 1st PCC Beat Tennessee 14-0 in the Rose Bowl
1940 3-4-2 .444 7th PCC
1941 2-6-1 .278 8th PCC
1942 5-5-1 .500 4th PCC
1943 8-2 .800 1st PCC Beat Washington 29-0 in the Rose Bowl
1944 8-0-2 .900 1st PCC Beat Tennessee 25-0 in the Rose Bowl
1945 7-4 .636 1st PCC Lost to Alabama 14-34 in the Rose Bowl
1946 6-4 .600 3rd PCC
1947 7-2-1 .750 1st PCC Lost to Michigan 0-49 in the Rose Bowl
1948 6-3-1 .650 3rd PCC
1949 5-3-1 .611 T3rd PCC
1950 2-5-2 .333 8th PCC


Bold indicates a National Championship-winning team.

Year Record Win % Conf. finish Bowl appearance
1951 7-3 .700 4th PCC
1952 10-1 .909 1st PCC Beat Wisconsin 7-0 in the Rose Bowl
1953 6-3-1 .650 3rd PCC
1954 8-4 .667 2nd PCC Lost To Ohio State 20-7 in the Rose Bowl
1955 6-4 .600 6th PCC
1956 8-2 .800 T2nd PCC
1957 1-9 .100 T7th PCC
1958 4-5-1 .450 3rd PCC
1959 8-2 .800 T1st AAWU
1960 4-6 .400 2nd AAWU
1961 4-5-1 .450 T2nd AAWU
1962 11-0 1.000 1st AAWU Beat Wisconsin 42-37 in the Rose Bowl
1963 7-3 .700 2nd AAWU
1964 7-3 .700 T1st AAWU
1965 7-2-1 .750 2nd AAWU
1966 7-4 .636 1st AAWU Lost to Purdue 13-14 in the Rose Bowl
1967 10-1 .909 1st AAWU Beat Indiana 14-3 in the Rose Bowl
1968 9-1-1 .864 1st Pac 8 Lost to Ohio State 16-27 in the Rose Bowl
1969 10-0-1 .955 1st Pac 8 Beat Michigan 10-3 in the Rose Bowl
1970 6-4-1 .591 T6th Pac 8
1971 6-4-1 .591 2nd Pac 8
1972 12-0 1.000 1st Pac 8 Beat Ohio State 42-17 in the Rose Bowl
1973 9-2-1 .792 1st Pac 8 Lost to Ohio State 21-42 in the Rose Bowl
1974 10-1-1 .875 1st Pac 8 Beat Ohio State 18-17 in the Rose Bowl
1975 8-4 .667 5th Pac 8 Beat Texas A&M 20-0 in the Liberty Bowl


Bold indicates a National Championship-winning team.

Year Record Win % Conf. finish Bowl appearance
1976 11-1 .917 1st Pac 8 Beat Michigan 14-6 in the Rose Bowl
1977 8-4 .667 T2nd Pac 8 Beat Texas A&M 47-28 in the Bluebonnet Bowl
1978 12-1 .923 1st Pac 10 Beat Michigan 17-10 in the Rose Bowl
1979 11-0-1 .958 1st Pac 10 Beat Ohio State 17-16 in the Rose Bowl
1980 8-2-1 .773 3rd Pac 10
1981 9-3 .750 T2nd Pac 10 Lost to Penn State 10-26 in the Fiesta Bowl
1982 8-3 .727 T3rd Pac 10
1983 4-6-1 .409 4th Pac 10
1984 9-3 .750 1st Pac 10 Beat Ohio State 20-17 in the Rose Bowl
1985 6-6 .500 T4th Pac 10 Lost to Alabama 3-24 in the Aloha Bowl
1986 7-5 .583 T4th Pac 10 Lost to Auburn 7-16 in the Citrus Bowl
1987 8-4 .667 T1st Pac 10 Lost to Michigan State 17-20 in the Rose Bowl
1988 10-2 .833 1st Pac 10 Lost to Michigan 14-22 in the Rose Bowl
1989 9-2-1 .792 1st Pac 10 Beat Michigan 17-10 in the Rose Bowl
1990 8-4-1 .654 2nd Pac 10 Lost to Michigan State 16-17 in the Sun Bowl
1991 3-8 .273 8th Pac 10
1992 6-5-1 .542 T3rd Pac 10 Lost to Fresno State 7-24 in the Freedom Bowl
1993 8-5 .615 T1st Pac 10 Beat Utah 28-21 in the Freedom Bowl
1994 8-3-1 .708 T2nd Pac 10 Beat Texas Tech 55-14 in the Cotton Bowl
1995 9-2-1 .792 T1st Pac 10 Beat Northwestern 41-32 in the Rose Bowl
1996 6-6 .500 T5th Pac 10
1997 6-5 .545 T5th Pac 10
1998 8-5 .615 T3rd Pac 10 Lost to TCU 19-28 in the Sun Bowl
1999 6-6 .500 T6th Pac 10
2000 5-7 .417 T8th Pac 10


Bold indicates a National Championship-winning team.

Year Record Win % Conf. finish Bowl appearance
2001 6-6 .500 5th Pac 10 Lost to Utah 6-10 in the Las Vegas Bowl
2002 11-2 .846 T1st Pac 10 Beat Iowa 38-17 in the Orange Bowl
2003 12-1 .923 1st Pac 10 Beat Michigan 28-14 in the Rose Bowl
2004 13-0 1.000 1st Pac 10 Beat Oklahoma 55-19 in the Orange Bowl
2005 12-1 .923 1st Pac 10 Lost to Texas 38-41 in the Rose Bowl
2006 11-2 .846 T1st Pac 10 Beat Michigan 32-18 in the Rose Bowl
2007 11-2 .846 T1st Pac 10 Beat Illinois 49-17 in the Rose Bowl
2008 12-1 .923 1st Pac 10 Beat Penn State 38-24 in the Rose Bowl
2009 9-4 .692 T5th Pac 10 Beat Boston College 24-13 in the Emerald Bowl
2010 8-5 .615 T3rd Pac 10 None due to NCAA sanctions
2011 10-2 .833 3rd Pac 12
(1st South)
None due to NCAA sanctions
2012 7-6 .538 T4th Pac 12
(2nd South)
Lost to Georgia Tech 7-21 in the Sun Bowl
2013 10-4 .714 T4th Pac 12
(T2nd South)
Beat Fresno State 45-20 in the Las Vegas Bowl
2014 8-4 .667 T3rd Pac 12
(T2nd South)
Defeated Nebraska in Holiday Bowl
2015 8-6 .571 T3rd Pac 12
(T1st South)
Lost to Wisconsin 23-21 in Holiday Bowl
2016 10-3 .769 T2nd Pac-12
(2nd in South)
Beat Penn State 52-49 in Rose Bowl
2017 11-3 .786 1st in Pac-12
(1st in South)
Beat Ohio State 24-7 in Rose Bowl
2018 5-7 .714 T4th in Pac-12
(T3rd in South)
2019 8-5 .615 3rd in Pac-12
(2nd in South)
Lost to Iowa 24-49 in Holiday Bowl
2020 5-1 .833 2nd in Pac-12
(T1st in South)
2021 4-8 .333 T8th in Pac-12
(T4th in South)
Total (as of 2021) 878-354-54 .704


Team awards

National Titles


2004 AP National Championship Trophy

USC holds 11 national titles, although two are contested. Since the NCAA does not conduct a playoff in Division 1-A football, there is no official national champion. The NCAA does have a list of polls, computer systems and others that are often used to attempt to determine National Champions. Because there is no playoff there are often disputes over who really has won the National Championship. Some years there are undisputed champions (where one school is ranked number one in all the polls), other years there are consensus champions (when one school clearly has been ranked number one in most of the polls) and some years there are split or shared championships (where two or more schools are ranked number one in major polls) Two of the championships - 1928 and 1939 - have been challenged by some sports historians. In both cases USC bases its claim on winning the Dickinson System, a formula devised by a University of Illinois professor which awarded the only championship trophy between 1926 and 1940. In both these years, Dickinson was the only poll or system to rank the Trojans number one. USC's stance, however, is in keeping with that of most other schools which won the Dickinson title; only Notre Dame, which won the Dickinson crown in 1938, does not claim a major national title for that year. Since at least 1969, USC had not listed 1939 as a national championship year; but in 2004, USC once again began recognizing the 1939 team as national champions after it determined that it qualified.[18][19][20]

Here are the years USC has been national champions:

  • 1928 Dickinson poll (other sports historians consider Georgia Tech to have been designated the national championship this year)
  • 1931 Consensus national champion
  • 1932 Consensus national champion
  • 1939 Dickinson poll (Texas A&M received the AP national championship)
  • 1962 Consensus national champion
  • 1967 Consensus national champion
  • 1972 Consensus national champion
  • 1974 UPI national champion (Oklahoma received the AP national championship)
  • 1978 UPI national champion (Alabama received the AP national championship)
  • 2003 AP national champion (LSU won the BCS national championship)
  • 2004 Consensus national champion

USC teams have also been selected as national champions in five other years (1929, 1933, 1976, 1979, 2002) by various nationally published ratings systems. These ratings systems are not generally viewed as part of process of selecting the national championship. USC does not claim to have won titles in any of these years.

Pacific Ten conference titles


Marcus Allen's Retired Jersey

The Trojans have suffered only three losing seasons since 1961 and have captured 37 Pac-10 titles. This gives them the 4th most conference championships of any NCAA school, and twice as many as any other Pac-10 member team.

Bowl games

The Trojans have played in 47 bowl games–placing them fourth nationally– winning 30 of these appearances. USC is only second behind Alabama's Crimson Tide for the most Bowl wins ever at 31. USC's 23 victories and 32 Rose Bowl appearances are the most of any school in a single bowl.

Individual awards

Individual players have won numerous accolades with 7 Heisman Trophy winners, 34 College Football Hall of Fame inductees, and 148 All-Americans. USC's first All-American was offensive guard Brice Taylor in 1925, who notably excelled despite missing his left hand and was one of USC's first African-American players.

National award winners

Mike Garrett, TB (1965)
O. J. Simpson, TB (1968)
Charles White, TB (1979)
Marcus Allen, TB (1981)
Carson Palmer, QB (2002)
Matt Leinart, QB (2004)
Reggie Bush, TB (2005)
O. J. Simpson, TB (1968)
Charles White, TB (1979)
Marcus Allen, TB (1981)
  • Walter Camp Award
O. J. Simpson, TB (1967)
O. J. Simpson, TB (1968)
Charles White, TB (1979)
Marcus Allen, TB (1981)
Matt Leinart, QB (2004)
Reggie Bush, TB (2005)
  • Dick Butkus Award
Chris Claiborne, MLB (1998)
  • Lombardi Award
Brad Budde, OG (1979)
  • Manning Award
Matt Leinart, QB (2004)
  • Outland Trophy Winner
Ron Yary, OT (1967)
  • Jim Thorpe Award
Mark Carrier, FS (1989)
  • Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award
Rodney Peete, QB (1988)
Carson Palmer, QB (2002)
Matt Leinart, QB (2005)
  • Doak Walker Award
Reggie Bush, TB (2005)
  • John Mackey Award
Fred Davis, TE (2007)
  • Paul "Bear" Bryant Award
John McKay, Head Coach (1962), (1972)
  • Home Depot Coach of the Year Award
Pete Carroll, Head Coach (2003)
  • Broyles Award
Norm Chow, Offensive Coordinator - (2002)

College Football Hall of Fame inductees

  • Howard Jones, Head Coach (1951)
  • Morley Drury, B (1954)
  • Mel Hein, Assistant Coach (1954)
  • Harry Smith, G (1955)
  • Erny Pinckert, B (1957)
  • Aaron Rosenberg, G (1966)
  • Ernie Smith, T (1970)
  • Dan McMillan, T (1971)
  • Mort Kaer, B (1972)
  • Aubrey Devine, Assistant Coach (1973)
  • John Ferraro, T (1974)
  • Frank Gifford, B (1975)
  • Cotton Warburton, B (1975)
  • Tay Brown, T (1980)
  • Johnny Baker, G (1983)
  • O. J. Simpson, TB (1983)
  • Mike Garrett, B (1985)
  • Bob Blackman, Assistant Coach (1987)
  • Mike McKeever, G (1987)
  • Ron Yary, T (1987)
  • John McKay, Head Coach (1988)
  • Paul Cleary, E (1989)
  • Mike McGee, Athletic Director (1990)
  • Lynn Swann, FL (1993)
  • Marvin Powell, T (1994)
  • Charles White, TB (1996)
  • Ricky Hunley, Assistant Coach (1997)
  • Ken O'Brien, Assistant Coach (1997)
  • Brad Budde, G (1998)
  • Don Coryell, Assistant Coach (1999)
  • Marcus Allen, TB (2000)
  • Jon Arnett, HB (2001)
  • Ronnie Lott, S (2002)
  • Ricky Bell, TB (2003)
  • Charles Young, TE (2004)
  • Anthony Davis, TB (2005)
  • Richard Wood, LB (2007)

Other notable individual accomplishments

Heisman finalists

  • Jim Sears, HB/S (7th in 1952)
  • Jon Arnett, HB (10th in 1956)
  • O.J. Simpson, TB (2nd in 1967)
  • Anthony Davis, TB (2nd in 1974)
  • Ricky Bell, TB (3rd in 1975 and 2nd in 1976)
  • Charles White, TB (4th in 1978)
  • Paul McDonald, QB (6th in 1979)
  • Rodney Peete, QB (2nd in 1988)
  • Keyshawn Johnson, WR (7th in 1995)
  • Matt Leinart, QB (6th in 2003 and 3rd in 2005)
  • Mike Williams, WR (8th in 2003)
  • Reggie Bush, TB (5th in 2004)

All Century Trojan Football Team

selected by fan vote, published in the Orange County Register, November 17, 1999

QB: Pat Haden, 72-74
FB: Leroy Holt, 85-88
RB: O.J. Simpson, 67-68
RB: Marcus Allen, 78-81
WR: Keyshawn Johnson, 94-95
WR: Lynn Swann, 71-73
TE: Charles Young, 70-72
OL: Ron Yary, 65-67
OL: Brad Budde, 76-79
OL: Tony Boselli, 91-94
OL: Ron Mix, 57-59
OL: Bruce Matthews, 80-82
3rd WR: Johnnie Morton, 90-93
PK: Steve Jordan, 81-84

DL: Tim Rossovich, 65-67
DL: Marlin McKeever, 58-60
DL: Mike McKeever, 58-60
DL: Aaron Rosenberg, 31-33
LB: Junior Seau, 88-89
LB: Richard Wood, 72-74
LB: Chris Claiborne, 96-98
DB: Ronnie Lott, 77-80
DB: Dennis Smith, 77-80
DB: Dennis Thurman, 74-77
DB: Mark Carrier, 87-89
P : Desmond Koch, 51-53
KR: Anthony Davis, 72-74

USC All-Time Team

Chosen by Athlon Sports in 2001 [1]

WR: Lynn Swann 71-73
WR: Keyshawn Johnson 92-95
TE: Hal Bedsole 61-63
OL: Ron Yary 65-67
OL: Tay Brown 30-32
OL: Tony Boselli 91-94
OL: John Baker 29-31
OL: Brad Budde 76-79
OL: Anthony Munoz 76-79
OL: Bruce Matthews 80-82
QB: Pat Haden 72-74
RB: Mike Garrett 63-65
RB: O.J. Simpson 67-68
RB: Charles White 76-79
RB: Marcus Allen 78-81
PK: Quin Rodriguez 87-90

DL: Ernie Smith 30-32
DL: Tim Ryan 86-89
DL: Harry Smith 37-39
DL: Aaron Rosenberg 31-33
LB: Chris Claiborne 96-98
LB: Richard Wood 72-74
LB: Jack Del Rio 81-84
LB: Junior Seau 88-89
DB: Ronnie Lott 77-80
DB: Morley Drury 25-27
DB: Mark Carrier 87-89
DB: Tim McDonald 83-86
P: Des Koch 51-53

From the field to the sidelines

From the field to the broadcast booth

  • Frank Gifford, RB (former Monday Night Football commentator)
  • Pat Haden, QB (former NBC color commentator for Notre Dame games, current USC athletic director)
  • Sean Salisbury, QB (former ESPN NFL analyst)
  • Paul McDonald, QB (color commentator for USC games)
  • Lynn Swann, WR (former ABC Sports commentator)
  • Petros Papadakis, RB (Fox Sports commentator)
  • John Jackson (football), WR (FSN commentator)
  • Jason Sehorn, DB (In 2005, Sehorn joined Fox Sports Net, and is currently a panelist on their Sunday NFL pregame show)
  • Bob Chandler, WR (Los Angeles Raiders broadcast team)
  • Rodney Peete, QB (panelist on FSN's Best Damn Sports Show Period!)

From the field to the red carpet

  • John Wayne, OL (Hollywood movie star from the 1920s through the 1970s)
  • Ward Bond, T (Hollywood actor from the 1920s through the 1950s)
  • Aaron Rosenberg, T (Hollywood director of Mutiny on the Bounty)


Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum

File:LA Coliseum gate.jpg

The peristyle and Olympic Torch of the Coliseum

The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is one of the largest stadiums in the U.S. USC has played football in the Coliseum ever since the grand stadium was built in 1923. In fact, the Trojans played in the first varsity football game ever held there (beating Pomona College 23-7 on October 6, 1923). The Coliseum was the site of the 1932 Summer Olympics and hosted the opening and closing ceremonies and track events of the 1984 Olympic Games. Over the years, the Coliseum has been home to many sports teams besides the Trojans, including UCLA football, the NFL's Los Angeles Rams and Raiders, and Los Angeles Dodgers baseball, including the 1959 World Series. The Coliseum has hosted various other events, from concerts and speeches to track meets and motorcycle races. The Coliseum has a present full-capacity of 92,000 seats (almost all are chair-back seats). The Coliseum is located on 17 acres in Exposition Park, which also houses museums, gardens and the Los Angeles Sports Arena [2].

Howard Jones Field/Brian Kennedy Field

The University of Southern California football team practices on campus at Howard Jones Field, which was expanded in the fall of 1998 to include Brian Kennedy Field. In early 1999, Goux's Gate - named after the popular long-time assistant coach Marv Goux - was erected at the entrance to the practice fields.

Trojans in the NFL

USC has had more 1st Round NFL Draft picks (67) than any other team. One hundred and sixty two (162) Trojans have been selected to the NFL Pro Bowl, a Trojan has played in all but two Super Bowls.

Pro Football Hall of Fame Inductees


Radio flagship: KSPN 710-AM in Los Angeles ("ESPN Radio 710")
Broadcasters: Pete Arbogast (play-by-play), Paul McDonald (analyst) and John Jackson (sideline reporter).
Past broadcasters: Tom Kelly, Lee Hacksaw Hamilton, Tim Ryan, Larry Kahn, Mike Walden, Chick Hearn, Petros Papadakis, Fred Gallagher and Mike Lamb, among the most recent USC radio broadcasters. Until 1995, radio station KNX AM-1070 in Los Angeles was the school's football flagship station. From 2001 to 2006, KMPC AM-1540 was the Trojan's flagship.
Public address announcer: Dennis Packer.

See Also


a. ^  Hawaii invited PCC teams to play in the Poi Bowl at the end of the season from 1936 to 1939. Although the College Football Data Warehouse lists the game as a "College Division/Minor Bowl Game", the NCAA as well as USC's own official records list it as simply a regular season game at the end of the season.[21][22][23] Thus, in this article the game is not counted in USC's bowl record.


  1. Traditions: USC National Titles,, Accessed March 22, 2008.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Mal Florence et al, The Trojan Heritage, 2004 USC Football Media Guide, USC Athletic Department, pp. 201-209.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Turning of the Tide: How One Game Changed the South,Yaeger, Don; Sam Cunningham , John Papadakis (September 1 2006). . Center Street. ISBN 1931722943.
  4. Lenn Robbins, Trojans Have Horses, New York Post, August 26, 2007
  5. Pat Forde, The Dash is off and running,, August 28, 2007
  6. Ivan Maisel, Carroll's coaching propels USC to top of decade ranking,, July 27, 2007.
  7. Storied programs dominate Ladder 119's top rungs,, July 27, 2007.
  8. Stewart Mandel, Early look at '07,, January 16, 2007.
  9. Mark Schlabach, Trojans, Wolverines top revised look at 2007,, January 22, 2007.
  10. Dave Albee,Carroll Chronicles: Celebrities love to practice with Pete, Marin Independent Journal, August 29, 2007.
  11. Christine Daniels, They're No. 1 on this list too, Los Angeles Times, September 28, 2007.
  12. Chris Dufrense, UCLA victory is crucial for Dorrell, Los Angeles Times, September 20, 2007.
  13. Chris Harry, Rivers lives up to No. 55, Orlando Sentinel, February 25, 2008.
  14. John Walters, Does it get any better than this?,, October 13, 2005.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 Beano Cook, Longstanding West Coast rivalry, ESPN Classic, September 26, 2001, Accessed Sept. 9, 2006.
  16. Cal Football Tickets 2007
  17. All information in the Awards section (and the rest of the article) can be crosschecked in the 2006 USC Trojans Football Media Guide.
  18. This Just In: USC Also Is a 1939 Champion. Washington Post, July 28, 2004
  19. USC 1939 National Champions. Washington Times, August 27, 2004
  20. USC Now Will Recognize Its 1939 Football Team As A National Champion. Trojan have 10 national champs in the sport. USC Trojans Athletic Department, July 24, 2004.
  21. Poi Bowl Games, College Football Data Warehouse, Accessed January 31, 2008.
  22. All-Time USC Record, 2004 USC Football Media Guide, USC Athletic Department, pp. 156.
  23. Official 2007 NCAA Division-I Football Records Book, National Collegiate Athletic Association, August 2007.

External links