Carson Palmer and Mark Carrier are favorites for Hall of Fame induction, while bowl lineups are changing and USC football remains a top program.
The College Football Hall of Fame unveiled their ballot for the 2020 class this week with three Trojans in the mix. How close to induction are Carson Palmer, Mark Carrier and Dennis Thurman?
Pete Fiutak of College Football News took a stab at categorizing all of the Hall of Fame candidates, sorting them into the “Hall of Very Good,” the “Hall of Maybe,” the “Hall of Yeah, They Should Probably Be In” and the “Hall of Famers. No Debate.”
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It’s a sign of how likely USC football is to see at least one more Trojan added to the Hall of Fame this year that all three featured in the Top 30 of Hall of Fame choices.
Palmer appears to be the most likely of the trio to make it. There are three Heisman Trophy winners up for consideration this year—Palmer, Nebraska’s Eric Crouch and Colorado’s Rashaan Salaam—and the Trojan quarterback outranks them all as the No. 1 player on the Hall of Fame ballot.
Carrier isn’t too far behind, ranking No. 11 as a two-time All-American and the 1989 Thorpe Award winner.
both featured in the “Hall of Famers. No Debate” category.
Thurman will have more fringe consideration as a member of the “Hall of Yeah, They Should Probably Be In.” He ranks No. 29 in Fiutak’s estimation.
The voters will ultimately have to decide.
The Pac-12 bowl lineup is set to change in 2020, as detailed by Brett McMurphy of WatchStadium.com. That could mean a big shift for the future postseason travel fans of USC fans.
Of course, the change will only matter to the Trojans if they aren’t contending for marquee bowls. The Rose Bowl is sticking around in its current form against the Big Ten while the No. 2 team in the Pac-12 will still head to San Antonio for a Big 12 matchup in the Alamo.
Below those top two bowls things are getting interesting.
The Las Vegas Bowl, in the newly-built Raiders stadium, will be a top-tier destination for the Pac-12 going against the SEC and Big Ten in alternating years. It’ll be SEC in 2020, 2022 and 2024, with the Big Ten featuring in 2021, 2023 and 2025.
The conference is also adding the new Los Angeles Bowl, which will be played at the new Los Angeles Stadium at Hollywood Park. The Pac-12 will go against the Mountain West in that contest, essentially taking over the old tie-in for the Las Vegas Bowl.
The Holiday Bowl has been demoted by the two aforementioned games. It’ll be staged between the Pac-12 and ACC going forward.
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The Redbox Bowl and Sun Bowl will continue with the Pac-12, pairing up with the Big Ten and ACC respectively.
Finally, the Pac-12 appears likely to drop it’s tie-in with the Cheez-It Bowl in favor of an ACC matchup in the Independence Bowl, which takes place in Shreveport, Louisiana each year.
Top programs of the past decade
Last week Sporting News ranked the top programs in college football since 2010, and despite some extreme ups and downs, USC made the cut.
Coming in at No. 20, the Trojans were acknowledged for making the Rose Bowl and Cotton Bowl in 2016 and 2017.
As bad as the bad seasons and the coaching turmoil has been, it’s worth noting that USC had had four 10 win seasons in the past nine, only once missing out on bowl eligibility.
Compared to the title-contending form USC fans expect, it’s been disappointing. But compared to most other programs out there, it has still been a fairly successful run.
Washington came in at No. 17, Notre Dame at No. 11, Oregon at No. 8 and Stanford at No. 7.