It was four years ago Tuesday that, following the investigation into alleged impermissible benefits received by former Trojans tailback Reggie Bush, the NCAA hammered the USC football program with some of the harshest sanctions the governing body has ever dished out.
Among the penalties levied were four years of probation, a two-year bowl ban (2010-11), vacating all wins from December 2004 through the 2005 season, a reduction in scholarships by 10 for the 2012-14 signing classes and the capping of the roster at 75 players for that same three-year time span.
But June 10, 2014, marks a new beginning of sorts, as USC’s four-year probationary period officially ends.
And while the Trojans still have one more season to go with a restricted roster, this undoubtedly represents a significant moment in time for a USC program that, after having been crippled by the sanctions that were handed down, desperately wants to move forward.
Just how significant of an effect did the penalties have over the four years in which USC was under probation?
Here’s a look at some numbers that begin to paint a picture:
.673 -- USC’s winning percentage during the four years (2010-2014) under probation
While USC did enjoy 10-win seasons in both 2011 and 2013, the Trojans’ combined record over the past four seasons was just 35-17. In contrast, USC won 83 percent (43-9) of its games from 2006-09, a period that encompassed Pete Carroll’s final four years as head coach.
.250 -- USC’s winning percentage vs. ranked opponents
The Trojans have always prided themselves on taking on, and defeating, the nation’s top programs. But from 2010 to 2013 USC went just 3-9 against opponents that were ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 at the time of their meeting. They were 16-3 (.842) in those matchups during the prior four years.
.375 -- USC’s winning percentage against primary rivals Notre Dame and UCLA
USC’s contests with traditional rivals Notre Dame and UCLA can often times play a large role in helping to determine whether a season is ultimately deemed a success or a failure, particularly in the eyes of the Trojans’ fan base. Over the course of the past four years, however, USC has come out on top in just three of those eight games, and it has lost to both the Fighting Irish and the Bruins in each of the past two years. Conversely, from 2001 to 2009 the Trojans went 16-2 (.889) in those rivalry contests.
4 -- The number of head football coaches USC had while under this probation
Lane Kiffin was the man in charge for the majority of that time, but he was fired following the Arizona State debacle in late September 2013, giving way to interim coach Ed Orgeron, who, when it was announced that Steve Sarkisian had been hired as the head coach of the future, gave way to another interim coach in Clay Helton for the Las Vegas Bowl.
19 -- The total number of players from USC who have been chosen in the past four NFL drafts
USC’s players have an incredible history when it comes to the NFL draft. In fact, with 483 players having been selected, the Trojans rank No. 1 in that department all-time. Over the course of the past four years, a respectable 19 players have been taken, but that’s still below the standard at USC. Thirty-three Trojans were taken in the NFL draft from 2007 to 2010.
34 -- Number of times USC was in the weekly AP Top 25 rankings under probation, out of 65 weeks
In contrast, the Trojans were ranked in the AP Top 25 in 64 of 65 weeks during the prior four years, and they were a fixture in it under Carroll, holding a streak of 130 consecutive weeks in the poll at one point from 2002 to 2009.
711 -- Second-half points USC gave up over the past four years, while scoring just 693 of its own
With USC’s roster cut down due to sanctions, the Trojans have been plagued by a lack of depth. Not surprisingly, then, they haven’t exactly performed up to par in the second half of games, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. That certainly wasn’t the case previously. From 2006 to 2009, USC outscored its opponents 778 to 410 in the second half of games.
78,563 -- USC’s home attendance average under probation
With the increase in losses came lower attendance numbers. USC’s average attendance at home was 87,637 per game from 2006-09.