RoT Madness has reached the Sweet 16, which means separating the match ups between USC football greats just gets harder. Voting is now open.
Following a tight first round, the second round of RoT Madness stayed with the favorites, who posted even bigger victories.
Now the Sweet 16 should offer some major debates with the two finalist at each position squaring off.
You’ve got the likes of Marcus Allen battling Reggie Bush and Keyshawn Johnson taking on Mike Williams, while Matt Leinart and Carson Palmer offer one of the toughest tests of all.
Who will advance to the Elite Eight, when position no longer matters, just greatness?
Polls will be open until Saturday, April 1st at midnight, after which results will be posted on ReignofTroy.com.
No. 1 Ronnie Lott vs. No. 2 Troy Polamalu
It’s time for a heavy-weight bout between the two greatest safeties in USC history.
Both Ronnie Lott and Troy Polamalu patrolled the secondary with All-American honors as Trojans. They both were named to the Pac-12 All-Century team — Lott as the Defensive Player of the Century. They both went on to heralded pro careers, broadening their legacy.
Flip a coin to settle this one? Or does Ronnie Lott’s national title break the tie? Does Polamalu’s repeat All-American status boost his case?
No. 1 Keyshawn Johnson vs. No. 2 Mike Williams
This one is another prize fight between two dominant Trojan receivers who each spent two years terrorizing Pac-10 defenses.
Keyshawn Johnson was a junior college transfer and wasted no time making his mark. He totaled 1,362 yards in year one and 1,434 in year two.
Mike Williams arrived as a freshman and took the country by storm, setting NCAA freshman receiving records.
They now rank 11th and 10th on USC’s career pass catching charts respectively.
No. 1 Marcus Allen vs. No. 2 Reggie Bush
Considering USC is Running Back U, the final match up in the running back portion of the bracket should be unsurprisingly fierce.
Who will win the day — Marcus Allen, the Heisman winner and first ever college football running back to break the 2,000-yard barrier? Or Reggie Bush, the Heisman winner who left jaws on the floor with his USC-record 7.32 yards per carry average?
Maybe Allen’s superior NFL career will play a factor. Maybe Bush’s special teams excellence will break the deadlock.
No. 1 Anthony Davis vs. No. 2 Adoree’ Jackson
It was always going to come to this — two Notre Dame killers battling for the right to represent special teams in the Elite Eight.
Anthony Davis and Adoree’ Jackson were both All-Americans in their own positions, but they’re in this bracket for their exceptional return skills.
Davis set NCAA season and single game kickoff return records. Jackson owns USC’s career kick return record, ranks fourth all-time in Trojan punt returns and tied the NCAA mark for total career return touchdowns.
What are the potential deciding factors? Davis was a Heisman runner-up and his returns against Notre Dame are more iconic. Jackson was a Thorpe Award winner and did more in both facets of the return game. It could go either way.
No. 1 Matt Leinart vs. No. 2 Carson Palmer
When discussing USC’s all-time greatest quarterback, the debate always seems to come back to Matt Leinart vs. Carson Palmer. So this should be fun.
It’s the ultimate philosophical sports question. What matters more, pure ability or total accomplishments?
Leinart takes the cake for the latter. He won literally everything a quarterback could win at USC. He claimed national titles, the Heisman Trophy and all of the other individual awards out there.
On the other hand, Palmer boasts the greater physical tools and the better quaterbacking ability. He didn’t win titles, but he didn’t have the supporting cast Leinart enjoyed.
Both set conference and USC records. Both are legends at their position. Tough choice.
No. 1 Ron Yary vs. No. 2 Tony Boselli
When you look for the definition of success at USC, both Ron Yary and Tony Boselli would certainly fit the bill.
Yary was a two-time All-American at offensive tackle — after he had already managed an All-Pac-8 nod at defensive tackle as a sophomore.
Boselli’s three year stretch as a starter were no less impressive. Two All-American seasons sandwiched his junior season which was cut short by injury — though he still picked up all-conference honors for the limited time he did see the field that year.
Separating the two College Football Hall of Famers will be difficult. But that’s why there’s a vote.
No. 1 Junior Seau vs. No. 2 Richard Wood
The battle between Junior Seau and Richard Wood as master of the linebacker bracket presents another philosophical battle.
No doubt, Wood’s USC career bloomed brighter and longer. Wood was the first ever three-time All-American at USC — a group which includes just three others since. In fact, he was the first player from the West Coast to ever achieve that status from the AP.
He won a title with the Trojans as a sophomore and captained USC to another championship as a senior.
However, what Seau lacked in longevity at USC, he made up for with a senior season which was one of the most impressive for a linebacker in USC history. He earned Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year honors with 27 tackles for loss and 12 deflections while leading the Trojans to the Rose Bowl.
His NFL Hall of Fame career launched Seau to another level in USC lore.
It’s another question of what matters more.
No. 1 Leonard Williams vs. No. 3 Shaun Cody
Shaun Cody is the only No. 3 seed to make it this far, but it’s a tough task to get by Leonard Williams to make the Elite Eight.
Williams started for three years at USC and picked up All-American honors twice. He was a defensive mainstay in one of the most unstable periods in Trojan history.
Cody was a four-year starter, helping to launch the Pete Carroll era at USC. He was there from the beginning in 2001 to the heights of 2004. Along the way, he grabbed a consensus All-American and made the finalist list for the Lombardi and Hendricks Awards.
Voting for the Sweet 16 will remain open until midnight on Saturday, April 1st.