USC football has pumped out some of the all-time greats on the offensive line. But RoT Madness gets crazy with two Hall of Famers meeting in the first round.
Known for the I-Formation under John McKay, it’s not a surprise that USC football history has been built on the back of big, dominant offensive linemen. But who reigns supreme?
Here’s how the offensive line bracket shakes out in the Pocket Region of RoT Madness.
Snubs include the likes of Jeff Bregel, John Ferraro and Ryan Kalil, but the field includes four College Football Hall of Famers, four members of the Pac-12 All-Century team and three inductees to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
No. 1 Ron Yary vs. No. 8 Anthony Muñoz
Without a doubt, Ron Yary and Anthony Muñoz create an insane matchup in any sort of bracketed competition, especially in the first round. They’re both in the discussion for a Mt. Rushmore of lineman. Yet here we are, as the highest and lowest seeds in the offensive line bracket.
A two-time All-Amercian selection –consensus in 1966 and unanimous in 1967– Yary paved the way for O.J. Simpson and was undoubtedly the best offensive lineman in the country during his time at USC. He won the Outland Trophy as a senior, was the No. 1 pick in the 1968 NFL Draft and has been elected into every Hall of Fame imaginable.
Then there’s Muñoz, considered by many to be the greatest offensive tackle in the history of the game. How could he possibly be a No. 8 seed to Yary’s No. 1? Before being an NFL superstar, he struggled to stay on the field due to injuries.
Muñoz earned All-Pac-10 honors as a junior in 1978, but didn’t finish his senior season because of a knee injury. He was seen as a gamble going into the NFL Draft, but needless to say, the Bengals saw it through nicely.
No. 4 Brad Budde vs. No. 5 Sam Baker
While Anthony Muñoz struggled with his knee in 1979, offensive guard Brad Budde was having a masterful season for the Trojans on their way to the Rose Bowl.
The senior became just the second lineman behind Yary to win a national award, as USC’s only Lombardi Award winner. Budde was a three-time All-Conference selection, and has been inducted to the Hall of Fames for College Football, the Rose Bowl and USC.
For Sam Baker, it’s the annual achievements that are the claim to fame. The only offensive player in USC football history to be a three-time first-team All-American, he anchored some of the best Trojan lines, paving the way for the likes of Reggie Bush, LenDale White and Joe McKnight.
No. 3 Bruce Matthews vs. No. 6 Marvin Powell
Part of USC’s royal family, Bruce Matthews was a stalwart guard up front for the Trojans before becoming one of the greatest guards in the history of the NFL. He was a unanimous All-American in 1982, and twice served as an All-Pac-10 first-teamer.
Many of the offensive linemen on the RoT Madness bracket are tied to a running back. For Marvin Powell, his two dominant seasons as USC’s left tackle coincided with the rise of Ricky Bell, who led the nation in rushing in 1975.
Powell twice was named as an All-American selection, and made the All-Pac-10 team three different times, including as part of the 1974 National Championship team. He was inducted to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1994.
No. 2 Tony Boselli vs. No. 7 Matt Kalil
As you might expect with NFL Draft departures and past rules prohibiting freshmen eligibility, the Trojans have never had a four-time All-Conference selection. Yet Tony Boselli nearly did it in the 1990s.
He made the Pac-10’s first-team in 1991 as a true freshman, and followed it up a year later along with his first of two All-American selections. But a dislocated knee cap during his junior season cost him significant time and nearly derailed his career.
Nonetheless, Boselli bounced back enormously as a consensus All-American in 1994, to go with his third All-Conference nod in four years. He was taken as the No. 2 pick in the 1995 NFL Draft and was subsequently inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2015.
It’s rare that a player’s value isn’t truly seen until they depart, but there was no avoiding that with USC’s Matt Kalil. After being an All-American in 2011 and a fourth overall selection in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Trojans suffered without him.
USC allowed twice as many sacks in 2012, lost three more regular season games and quarterback Matt Barkely’s senior year paled in comparison to his junior season with Kalil protecting his blindside, and eventually ended in a season-ending injury.
On top of being a dominant tackle in pass protection, Kalil recorded five blocked kicks during his time at USC, including a game-winner against Utah in 2011.
Voting will be open until Midnight Saturday/Sunday. Be sure to vote in the rest of the first round of RoT Madness, then hop down below in the comments and make your case for how you voted.
Was there a player you think should’ve made the bracket that got snubbed? Did you go with your heart? How did stats play a role in your vote? Sound off.