ESPN released its list of the 150 best college football teams of all time. One team we knew would rank at or near the top: the 2004 USC Trojans. With a Heisman-winning quarterback at the helm, USC steamrolled the competition on the way to the BCS National Championship.
Where are the big pieces of the dynasty now? Today we look at the five people who arguably made the biggest impact on the team.
Head coach Pete Carroll
The figurehead of the dynasty, Pete Carroll brought swagger and coolness back to the USC program. Leading the team to two national championships, he left before sanctions came down on the program to join the Seattle Seahawks.
Carroll has led the Seahawks to two Super Bowl appearances and won one. The Seahawks are also in the driver’s seat in the NFC West. Carroll could have a chance at a second Lombardi Trophy this season.
Recruiting coordinator Ed Orgeron
Ed Orgeron, aka Coach “O,” has been one of the fiercest recruiters in college football for the last two seasons. He was also one of the main reasons USC gained prominence in the early 2000s. After leaving USC, Orgeron took a shot at reviving the Ole Miss program but couldn’t get much going in one of the toughest places to win at in the SEC.
Orgeron was the interim coach at LSU under Les Miles but received the keys to the program when Miles was fired. Nowadays, he’s racking up top-five recruiting classes with LSU. The Tigers are on the verge of competing for a college football playoff spot. Orgeron is credited with improving the team’s offense, as they’re putting up points and have a potential Heisman Trophy candidate at quarterback in Joe Burrows.
Running back Reggie Bush
One of the most controversial players in college football over the last two decades, Reggie Bush electrified fans in a Heisman-winning campaign of his own. His win was ultimately vacated after violating NCAA rules, but he was still the No. 2 pick in the 2006 NFL Draft. Now you can find Bush on Fox as a college football analyst. Thankfully, he’s not a biased commentator when it comes to discussing his former team.
Quarterback Matt Leinart
After Matt Leinart was done torching secondaries, he was a top-15 pick in the NFL. Now, you can find him on Fox as well, as he analyzes the biggest games in college football. Sometimes, Leinart can have a biased opinion of Notre Dame, especially if the infamous “Bush Push” comes up. However, his takes are usually refreshing to hear on Saturday mornings.
Running back LenDale White
The thunder to Bush’s lightening style, LenDale White was a bruising back who was underappreciated at times during his run with the USC Trojans. Given a chance to get the bulk of the carries, White could’ve been a Heisman Trophy contender for USC. After retiring following the 2011 season, he is currently out of the limelight but has made appearances with Sports Illustrated and Vice Sports.