Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Discussion on whether USC could hang with the worst NFL team

It's so funny how many people scoff at the idea of the nation's top college team competing with the worst NFL team. Back in the old days, a team of College All Stars would meet the defending NFL champions each preseason, and in 1937, the college team beat the Packers 6-0. (Sorry, that's the only legit link I can find with a mention of it.) Yes, it was seventy years ago, but frankly I don't know if it can really be argued that the gap between college players and NFL players has changed dramatically over time. NFL players and schemes have gotten better and more complex, and college players and schemes have as well (see, one BECOMES the other, typically after four years). So then WHY is it that here we are, looking at arguably one of the greatest college football teams of all time, and most people just laugh at the notion that they could compete with the worst NFL team?

I'd argue that USC would in fact be better than a team of college all-stars simply because they have the chemistry together that an all-star team just wouldn't. And they wouldn't be playing the defending NFL champs, but the worst team in the NFL. Big difference between the Patriots and the Texans or 49ers, folks.


At 10/06/2005 03:59:00 PM, Blogger JCCobb said...

Rohan, I have to admit, I'm in the scoff camp. I have had this same argument several times with my buddies and although I’m always in the minority here's my analysis.

I base this on the Houston Texans versus the USC Trojans. A quick analysis of USC and then Houston Texans Roster:

USC is one hell of a team, my best guess combined with preseason mags is that on the current roster they have 2-4 1st Team All American's and they'll probably have 5-8 1st Team All conference guys. Of their 22 starters I would estimate 12-15 will make the pro's and 8-10 will actually be starters in their career.

Houston Texans
Pos. Player_Name Ht Wt College All-American All-Conference
WR 80 Andre Johnson 6-3 219 Miami 3rd-team 1st-Team
LT 68 Victor Riley 6-5 340 Auburn 1st-Team 1st-Team
LG 69 Chester Pitts 6-3 320 SDSU 3rd-team 1st-Team
C 76 Steve McKinney 6-4 302 Texas A&M N/A 1st-Team
RG 72 Zach Wiegert 6-5 309 Nebraska 1st-Team 1st-Team
RT 71 Todd Wade 6-8 315 Mississippi 2nd-Team 1st-Team
TE 87 Mark Bruener 6-4 260 Washigton 1st-Team 1st-Team
WR 85 Corey Bradford 6-1 197 Jackson St. N/A 1st-Team
QB 8 David Carr 6-3 230 Fresno St. N/A 1st-Team
RB 37 Domanick Davis 5-9 216 LSU N/A N/A
FB 44 Moran Norris 6-1 250 Kansas N/A 3rd-team
LE 96 Gary Walker 6-2 305 Auburn N/A 2nd-Team
NT 91 Seth Payne 6-4 303 Cornell N/A 1st-Team
RE 99 Robaire Smith 6-4 310 Michigan St. 2nd-Team 1st-Team
LOLB 53 Shantee Orr 6-0 250 Michigan N/A N/A
BLB 52 Kailee Wong 6-2 250 Stanford 1st-Team 1st-Team
MLB 56 Morlon Greenwood 6-0 238 Syracuse N/A 1st-Team
ROLB 98 Antwan Peek 6-3 250 Cincinnati N/A 1st-Team
LCB 38 Demarcus Faggins 5-10 178 K-State N/A Hon Ment
RCB 23 Dunta Robinson 5-10 174 South Caroina 3rd-team 1st-Team
SS 24 C.C. Brown 6-0 208 La Laf N/A N/A
FS 42 Marcus Coleman 6-2 210 Texas Tech N/A N/A

Break Down
1st-Team All-American 4
1st-Team All-Conference 15

15 of Houston's 22 Starters were on their conferences 1st Team All-Conference List. All 22 played college ball, excelled and now are Starting in the pros. A third if not half of USC's current starting roster will never start a game in the NFL. Houston is a college All-Star team that has practiced together and play as a team (they just so happen to be one of the lesser in the NFL). USC is a great college team however could never compete against the pros.

You see the quotes from the college guys all the time. The speed of the NFL is something they can't believe and is the first thing they have to adjust to (see Carnell Williams quotes this year). In college each game you're going against 3 or 4 guys who will play on the next level and have "NFL" speed. In the NFL, every guy has that speed.

USC is loaded with Talent, there is no denying that. Their skill guys (Leinart, Bush, White, Bing, Jarrett) will all play on the next level, but what makes the difference isn’t comparing USC’s top 5 players against Houston’s top 5 it’s when you start getting down to the #17-22 Starters. These guys (USC) are paled in comparison to anyone guy starting on the Texans and that is why they would lose, every time. You have guys on the D-Line (USC) who won’t even be honorable mention all-conference going against an O-Lineman (Houston) who was 1st team, vice versa on the OL for USC. The 11 on 11 aspect, more so then any other comparison of the best college team playing the worst pro team is what hinders this comparison more so then any other. I would be more inclined to say the Best college hoops team would beat the worst NBA (UNLV circa 1990) however even then I think the Pro’s win.

At 10/06/2005 05:06:00 PM, Anonymous devaskar said...

Every time there is a dominant college football team, this question arises and it's comical every time. And I still think the 2000-2002 Miami team was better from a pro standpoint than this era of SC football. That Miami team wouldn't have stood a chance against the worst NFL team, in large part because their quarterback wasn't any good. But even a bunch of those Miami guys that were all-conference and all-American haven't done well in the NFL. How have Mike Rumph, Jerome McDougle, Jamaal Green, Matt Walters, Phillip Buchanon and Andrew Williams done in the NFL?

I'd be willing to bet that this SC team won't have as many players drafted as highly as Miami did in that era. Plus, it's a pretty good bet that not all of the highly drafted guys will play at a high level at the next level. Furthermore, how dominant has SC really been this season? They played a pretty good Arizona State team and struggled to beat them by 10. You'll forgive me for not seeing the huge deal over destroying Hawaii, Arkansas (which may well be th worst team in the SEC) and Silicon Valley Bowl-bound Oregon team. This is akin to Oklahoma two years ago; they ran up the score on greatly inferior opponents and everyone touted them as an all-time great team, then they ran into legitimately good teams and lost--twice. SC hasn't played anything all that good yet. They certainly didn't in their first three games.

As for 1937, it's an unfair comparison because not all the best college players used it as a springboard to the NFL in those days. Because the money wasn't great, a lot of great college players didn't play in the NFL. Now, every great college player plays in the NFL. Every player in the NFL was a star in college. There are plenty of players on SC that aren't a college star and won't ever will be, and there are plenty of starters on SC that won't do anything in the NFL.

So I scoff at the notion that SC could hang with the best NFL team. I doubt the game would be competitive.


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