USC Football is off to a 6-0 start. That's obviously a perfect start for anyone, but for the Trojans, it feels like it's the best start in forever. That's because...it is, in a way. USC has not only not started 6-0 since the Pete Carroll era, but they haven't started 6-0 since Year 6 of the Pete Carroll era. Yes, the Trojans haven't started 6-0 since 2006.
Have the Trojans had some elite seasons since 2006? Absolutely. They finished in the top 3 in 2007, 2008, and 2016. They finished in the top 6 in 2011, and won 11 games with a Pac-12 Title in 2017. Believe it or not, however, none of those seasons included undefeated starts through six games. That's why it truly does go to show that this season really can be special.
Look at that last 6-0 start USC went on. They ended up finishing with an 11-2 record that year and a Rose Bowl. They finished in the top four of the AP Poll. They had an elite offense led by QB John David Booty, who scored 30 touchdowns (29 passing) and threw just one interception. Throwing to two 1,000-yard receivers in Dwayne Jarrett and Steve Smith, the passing game was unstoppable.
The running game wasn't too shabby itself; as Chauncey Washington, Emmanuel Moody, and C.J. Gable led the rushing attack by combining for 1,637 rushing yards on 4.7 yards per carry. They combined for 15 rushing touchdowns. The defense had their share of playmakers too, as Safety Taylor Mays had three interceptions, and Linebacker Keith Rivers led the team with 85 tackles.
Defensive Lineman Lawrence Jackson had 11 tackles for loss, and Brian Cushing somehow racked up 13.5 tackles for loss as a linebacker. The D as a whole only allowed 15.2 points per game. The only two losses that the '06 team had were Pac-12 road losses decided by two and four points, respectively. One of those losses came against Oregon State, who finished as the No. 21 team in the country that year.
USC Football dominated tough competition all year in 2006.
USC Football's 2006 squad faced five teams ranked in the top 21 at the time of their matchups, and won each of them by AT LEAST 14 points. Three of those games were decided by 18 points, 20 points, and 25 points. Of the two top six teams they faced, they destroyed Notre Dame by 20 and convincingly beat Michigan in the Rose Bowl by 14 points.
USC will have their first shot at playing a top 21 team this upcoming week, against No. 20 Utah. They'll have a shot to do what the 2006 team didn't do, which is break their six-game winning streak in the seventh game of the season. They were upset in Corvallis by a score of 31 to 33. This Utah game will most certainly be a challenge, and an even tougher one than Oregon State in '06.
SC certainly has the ceiling on offense to get it done, led by Heisman candidate Caleb Williams and the top offensive schemer in the country in Lincoln Riley. Leading the country in sacks (24) and tied for second in turnovers forced (15), USC also has an opportunistic defense that has proven the ability to consistently disrupt offensive game plans with timely sacks and takeaways.
USC fans have been waiting for USC to be back to playing elite football for years. Based off of the start they've been off to this year, it looks like they may finally be back to national contention like they used to be. 2006 was no exception, and they are off to a similar start as they were then.