Darryl Dennis/Icon SMI
Pick up a copy of USC's media guide and you're quickly given the most significant stats of the Pete Carroll era on the cover.
- BCS Bowls (NCAA Record)
- 11-win seasons (NCAA Record)
- Pac-10 Titles (Pac-10 Record)
- AP top-4 finishes
It's an impressive run, but during that time USC has only won one AFCA National Championship Trophy with the distinctive Waterford Crystal football that is awarded to the BCS national champion. That, however, isn't stopping the Trojans from claiming another title.
To commemorate the 30th anniversary of the 1978 USC team that won the national championship, the athletic department is selling replicas of the AFCA National Championship Trophy with the plaque on the trophy reading, "The UPI/Coaches' Poll Honors The National Football Champion University of Southern California 1978" and is advertising them as a "replica of the 1978 National Championship USC Football Trophy."
The only problem is the current AFCA National Championship Trophy has only been around since 1986, and the Trojans have only won it once, in 2004, and the 1978 UPI Coaches trophy looks nothing like it. When I called Todd Bell, the director of media relations and special projects for the AFCA, he said it wasn't uncommon for schools to be selling replicas of the current national championship trophy, but that it is usually requested by teams that actually won the national championship trophy in question.
It isn't the first time USC has tried to play a little revisionist history. In the summer of 2004, seven months after they won a split of the national championship with LSU, the USC athletic department out of nowhere decided to claim a share of the 1939 national championship as well. Over 65 years after the 8-0-2 Trojans ended that season ranked No. 3 in the AP poll behind 11-0 Texas A&M and 8-0 Cornell, USC claimed a share of the national title when they discovered USC was ranked first in the Dickinson System, a now-defunct formula devised by Frank G. Dickinson, an economics professor at the University of Illinois, at the behest of a Chicago clothing manufacturer. It was the only one of 13 polls (you think things are cluttered now) that season that had USC ranked No. 1, which was apparently enough for USC athletic director Mike Garrett.
I fully expect to see more replicas of the AFCA National Championship Trophy to commemorate the 70th anniversary of that national championship team next season.