No. 7 USC football team from the Pete Carroll era: The 2006 Trojans
Pete Carroll's third-worst USC football team was a team that finished fourth in the final poll. Let that sink in for a minute. THAT'S how dominant Carroll was as a coach. In his third-worst season with SC, he won 11 games. He only lost two, and both losses were on the road and by four points or less. One of them was in a rivalry game, too, where anything can happen.
The best part, though, was how SC responded to those losses. When they lost their first game (at Oregon State), they followed it up by DRAGGING Stanford 42-0 at the farm. When they lost their second game (at UCLA), they followed it up by beating Michigan senselessly in the Rose Bowl, 32-18. SC followed up their National Championship defeat in 2005 with a tremendous season in 2006.
A star in John David Booty was born, and both Dwayne Jarrett and Steve Smith put up 1,000 yards. Keith Rivers had 85 tackles and forced three fumbles. Taylor Mays caught three picks. It was a year to remember for Carroll and company.