Just a thought on USC, which I might have brought up in the open game thread on Saturday. The conventional wisdom is that USC has consistently been one of the best teams in the country over the past 5 years. I heard on TV last week (I think on the ABC half time show from Flutie) that USC would probably have won several more national titles during the Carroll era had a playoff system been in place. Let's look at USC's bowl wins:
2007 49-17 over a mediocre Illinois team. (Big 10)
2006 32-18 over a declining Michigan program. (Big 10)
2005 38-41 loss to Vince Young. (He just wins football games . . . except not anymore?) (Big 12)
2004 55-19 over an Oklahoma team (Big 12) that would go on to barely scrape by Oregon in its bowl game the following year, and then lose to Boise St. in 2006 and a West Virginia team last year that is also in decline.
2003 28-14 over a Michigan program that was beginning its decline. (Big 10)
2002 38-17 over an Iowa program at its peak. (Big 10)
You can't blame USC because of the way the bowl system is set up, but notice how SC has never had to take on a top SEC opponent. USC has clearly been the best team in the Pac-10, they own the Big 10, and have split against the Big 12. And really, sans Vince Young, Texas loses that game by 20. It was the greatest individual performance by a college football player that I've ever seen.
Meanwhile, the SEC champ has destroyed the Big 10 for a couple of years and beat the Big 12 champ, LSU over Oklahoma, by a touchdown in 2003.
I know it sounds crazy, but I'm actually rooting for USC to make the title game against Florida or Alabama to see how the elites from the two conferences actually matchup.
I'd love to hear what others think about this and I'm sure that I've overlooked some key non-conferences games that might further illuminate things in this brief analysis.