USC Morning Buzz: Stats Love To Lie

I know pundits love to cite stats to praise players or teams but my eyes often seem to see a different game than what the stats say.

Here is an amazing example:

The No. 1 offensive line in the nation? I’ll repeat it: USC had the No. 1 offensive line in the nation?

Someone will reply “USC’s offensive line was better this year.”

OK. But the No. 1 offensive line in the nation?

Did USC give up few sacks because of the Air Raid? I checked and the Trojans ranked No. 24 in the nation, so that doesn’t explain the rankings.

I’m watching a different game, I guess.

  • You probably saw Kedon Slovis chose to transfer to Pitt. It’s a better team than other schools he asked to make presentations.

But . . . Pitt starts four seniors on its offensive line. I hope Slovis did his homework on the second-team offensive linemen.

68 thoughts on “USC Morning Buzz: Stats Love To Lie

    1. Not to get too political …but…for the first time we’re starting to hear Advocates for Seniors talking seriously about pushing district attorneys in the many jurisdictions in which the Bidens own homes to consider charging Jill with Elder Abuse for knowingly putting poor, struggling Joe out there day after day to face the unpleasant music. Of course, that’s not gonna happen …but what is Jill getting outta this?

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Listen boys and girls! Good news! I’m trying to pull all the strings to get USC into the tax slayer Gator ball! Texas a&m has pulled out and we could slide right in. I’m trying to pay off the Gator bowl people as well as the NCAA aholes. Money is no object! But this one girl in the committee isn’t budging. She is a UCLA grad… You’ll could thank me later!


      Liked by 2 people

  1. Depending on how many Pitt players opt to go pro, Kedon could wind up having true sophomore tackles (who didn’t play much this year as freshman), Banson Taylor and Matt Gonglaves protecting his oft injured torso next year.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I guess that answers Scott’s question, Tim —Kedon didn’t do his homework. He’d be better off staying in a conference known nationwide for having mainly weak defenses. Do you know of one like that?

        Liked by 1 person

      1. These guys (Drexel, Minor, ,Houy, Warren) were all juniors …who coulda left after having a great year. Amazing they all decided to come back for their senior year. Guess, unlike our star juniors, they wanna stick together & finish what they started. Kedon is in good hands. Watch out for Pitt!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Slovis’ girl goes to Pitt.

    She plays a sport, although I don’t know which one. Maybe the Blogger can do some digging and figure it out for us all.


    Liked by 3 people

      1. Her position is center.


      2. Come on, Michael, surely you kid. You are known to do that every so often. But the idea of a girl playing tackle football is a kick(er).

        And as for Scott’s latest rant, I do not mean to be picky, but that is why we all are on this blog.– Those “grades” for the SC offensive line and other schools technically are not “statistics” but instead rely on statistics to get the grade.

        If that explanation is as clear as mud, here might be some of the stats relied on to get SC that No. 1 grade:
        Led the nation in most times getting out of the way of oncoming rushers going after Slovis;
        Since the other team usually had the ball in SC games, the offensive line was No. 2 nationally in having the fewest plays;
        And finally, the offensive line was first in conference in having its talent-level the same-or-worse at season’s end as it was in the beginning.

        Liked by 5 people

      1. …and someone posted that Kedon already signed an N.I.L. deal with American Eagle, or something like that.

        I’m happy for the kid.
        He played super hard for us and took a ton of hits while waiting for the school to build an O-line.

        Liked by 5 people


    Liked by 1 person

  4. Said it before.
    The O-line was improved this year and the run game was pleasant to watch. A combo of Keontay and Christon would have been fantastic.
    The QB’s had time, but most of the WR’s just could not get open.

    The Trojans played from behind all year due to horrific defensive play.
    I think the opposition scored a TD in every game right before the half.

    I trust Riles and the new guy will have a top notch O-line, run game, & QB play. I’m hoping they improve the WR play. Really liked watching that kid McRee play in the last few games. Hope Gary Bryant Jr stays at USC and has a 60+ catch/1000 yd season. He deserves it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think the o-line showed a lot of progress from game to game once Donte took over —but— the difference between Donte’s o-line and the o-line in the video somebody just posted of the Auburn game is HUGE. Our runners had 2 or 3 guys plowing the way on every play. [The d-line was swarming —- and never missed an opportunity to separate the QB from the ball]…..


      1. That SC-Auburn game was less than 20 years-ago, but got to love it when football fans compare the great college teams of the 70s and 80s with todays kids.

        They are bigger today. And faster. And a lot less white. Give me the recent Alabama editions over any team of the 1990s (except maybe that 1972 loaded SC team)


  5. Yes, the players today are bigger and faster. Unfortunately, from watching tape of the last 3 -5 seasons USC is no longer getting those superior athletes they once had on both offense and defense. WR might be the 1 exception, but even our QB’s since Carson Palmer, and Leinart have not been exceptional meaning in the top 3 of college football each season.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. today they play about 20 mins…the real football players had to play offense and defense for 60 mins,even q/b’s played defense/or left back in single wing…that is a fact and a stat.


  6. Rick Bell——destroyed defenses while he was at SC. 347 YARDS IN ONE GAME IS INCREDIBLE.

    Ricky Bell’s best year came in 1979 when he rushed for 1,263 yds & 7 TDs … 347-yard rushing performance on 51 carries against Washington State in 1976.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great article shown below on Ricky Bell written by Jim Perry former USC Assistant AD, and writer I believe for the LA TIMES, AND HERALD EXAMINER. As John Mckay use to say” The ball is not heavy” why not give it to the running back 30 times a games. Obviously, Clay Helton thought the football was heavy, and the game too physical!!

    Ricky Bell and QB Vince Evans were a tough duo to defend back in the day. Sad how Ricky Bell has been forgotten to me he’s another one who deserves a statute right in front of the John Mckay center.

    By Jim Perry, Assistant Athletic Director
    Sept. 12, 2001

    When Ricky Bell was playing tailback for USC in the mid-1970s, his teammates called him “Bulldog, because he growled when he carried the ball.

    Bell not only sounded fierce. As a runner, he was fierce.

    “He punishes tacklers like no one I’ve ever seen,” USC coach John Robinson said at the time.

    “You watch all those defensive players patting each other on the back and shouting, ‘We’re gonna stop Ricky Bell!’ and then you watch the next play, and their heads slam into the ground. He runs right over them.”

    In early October in 1976, Bulldog Bell and his teammates flew to Seattle to take on a scrappy Washington State team that was coached by Jackie Sherrill and quarterbacked by Jack Thompson, who had his own nickname (The Throwin’ Samoan). The game had been moved from Pullman to Seattle and would be held in the new Kingdome.

    On Saturday night, the Cougars played one of their best games of the season against a USC team that was on its way to an 11-1 record and No. 2 national ranking. In fact, the game was tied, 14-14, in the fourth quarter as Thompson passed for 341 yards.

    But Bell turned in perhaps the greatest single-game performance in USC history as he literally carried the Trojans to a 23-14 victory. Even today, 25 years later, his numbers are mind-boggling.

    Although Washington State gang tackled him with everyone but the coaching staff, the senior tailback carried 51 times for 347 yards (both were Pac-8 records), caught two passes for 10 more yards and scored two touchdowns as the Trojans clawed their way to victory.

    After the game, a drained Robinson was in awe of his running back.

    “As far as I’m concerned, he’s the best football player of all time,” Robinson said. “I’ve never been around a man to equal him. The tougher the game got, the tougher he got. I don’t remember a better performance from a guy.

    “We had no plans to give him the ball that often, but, hey, that was in our hour of need. He never seemed to act that tired–although people might want to put me in jail for cruelty.”

    Although Bell’s performance was remarkable, it was also frustrating. He should have broken the NCAA single-game rushing record that night. Of course, for a while, the 37,268 fans in the Kingdome thought he had done just that.

    As the clock was winding down at the end of the game, the scoreboard flashed the news that Bell had surpassed the national record at the time (350 yards, set by Michigan State’s Eric Allen in 1971). On his last carry, the USC tailback swept left end for five yards, apparently giving him 354.

    He was then taken out of the game, and with time for at least one more play, Trojan quarterback Vince Evans fell on the ball.

    The game was over, but it turned out Bell did not own the NCAA record. A statistical error had cost him his chance to break it.

    The confusion dated to a play midway through the final quarter, when Bell briefly left the lineup. Freshman tailback Charles White, who replaced him, carried for seven yards, but those yards were credited to Bell by mistake. Before the end of the game, the yards were taken from Bell’s total and given correctly to White.

    However, in the last-second excitement of a close battle, the USC coaches on the sideline were never given Bell’s updated yardage figure. They took him out when they thought he had broken the record.

    In a meeting with sportswriters the next day, the gracious Bell did not blame anyone for the mistake. He blamed himself for losing three fumbles in the game.

    “I’m not disappointed I didn’t get the record,” he said. “You writers are more disappointed than I am. The only reason I feel bad is because you guys feel bad.

    “Winning is the important thing. I was scared we were going to lose. I had fumbled three times, and the last time I fumbled, Washington State scored on the next play. I felt like a rat.

    “But those fumbles weren’t going to make me drop my head. I was going to do whatever it took to win.”

    Throughout his career, Bell always did whatever it took to win. As a freshman in 1973, he lettered as an outside linebacker on a Rose Bowl team. As a sophomore, he started at fullback for the 1974 national champions, averaging 6.6 yards a carry.

    Moved to tailback by coach John McKay, who was in his final USC season, Bell led the nation in rushing in 1975 with what was then the second highest total in NCAA history (1,875 yards in the regular season and 1,957 in all).

    Finally, as a senior in 1976, he rushed for 1,433 yards, despite missing all of one game and most of four others with injuries in the weeks following his big game against Washington State. For his career, Bell, who was third in Heisman Trophy balloting as a junior and second as a senior, averaged 5.2 yards a carry.

    After the game in Seattle, Washington State nose guard Dean Pedigo, who figured he was in on 10 tackles of the USC tailback, shook his head in amazement.

    “It was the worst, as a team, we’ve ever been beaten up,” he said. “We were all stiff and sore. Bell is bigger and stronger than most of our guys on defense. You can’t just butt him with your head or arm-tackle him. Three or four of you have to wrap him up.

    “I could not believe he carried 51 times. We were really sticking him on every play.”

    It is terribly ironic, that Ricky Bell, as tough a football player as USC has ever had, would not live to see 30.

    After a five-year NFL career with Tampa Bay–he led the Buccaneers to the 1979 NFC Championship Game by rushing for 1,263 yards–Bell was traded to San Diego in 1982. But he appeared in only two games for the Chargers, announcing his retirement in 1983, because he was suffering from a rare muscle disease.

    A small number of patients who contract that disease (dermatomyositis) also contract a degenerative disease of the heart muscle (cardiomyopathy), and, tragically for Bell, he suffered from both. On November 28, 1984, he died of a heart attack at the age of 29.

    For all of us who knew Ricky Bell well, it was a loss that still hurts. As hard-hitting as he was on the football field, he was gentle, kind and humble off it. He was also ambitious. He graduated from USC in the spring of 1979 and was on his way to a successful career in business before he fell ill.

    His death shocked all of his friends, because they didn’t realize he was that sick. They didn’t know about his intense pain the last two years of his life, or his exhaustion, or the oxygen machine in his bedroom.

    “People would call the house and ask how Ricky was doing and he’d say, ‘I’m great, just fine,'” his widow, Natalia, told Chris Dufresne in the Los Angeles Times a few months after his death. “It made me so mad. I’d say, ‘Why are you saying that?’ And he’d say, ‘I don’t want anybody feeling sorry for me. ‘I’m going to get better.'”

    As those Washington State players from 25 years ago would tell you, Ricky Bell was one tough competitor.

    Liked by 6 people

      1. Melvin Sanders, a Loyola Cub and teammate of mine who graduated in 1976 and was all CIF and All American went up to Washington St to play defenisve end. I watched the game and watched Melvin play against Ricky. My friend got knocked around like a rag doll in that game. He had a stupdenous carreer but that game woke him up on what it was like playing against SC and Ricky Bell. Ricky should have won the Heisman for that game alone.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Beautiful tribute. And of course along with Ricky being unfairly denied the Heisman how about Anthony Davis being denied the Heisman over Ohio St’s Griffith winning it for the second time? Most of the votes were already in before AD’s 1974 ND performance.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Yes, it is true Charles, although we like to goof off and kid around with co-Posters, there are some pieces here that we should cherish

        Liked by 1 person

  8. It really wasn’t the offensive line that was bad, it was the schematics of the offense and Slovis inability to find open receivers. This is just another indication of how bad Graham Harrell’s offensive scheme was.

    TO and GH were just horrible at designing an effective strategy for their side of the ball. I dont think either coach really should be hired as a coordinator. Maybe they need to take a step down and learn under someone else. In particular, GH version of the air raid needs to die.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Scooter,

    Liar Liar pants on fire.

    I wonder if Heleton had anything to do with this before the season. All this lying has to stop and Riley has to run a tight and honest ship. He has to sell the team, the fans, the alumni, critics, and recruits that he is going to do what he says he will do.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. It’s all in the category in which the line was awarded the highest number of points. Here are some categories for which the USC line might be first.
    1. Fastest off the field after taking over, 3 downs or less.
    2. Most false starts in a season.
    3. Most calories consumed versus expended during football season.
    4. Furthest into the red zone without scoring
    5. Least likely to have an NFL career.
    I can see Scott laughing about all of us denying USC’s offensive line could be first at anything.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. SC brought in another receiver. He’s a baseball player at SC. He’s a white kid but he runs a 4.35 40 yard dash and a 40 inch vertical leap. Last year at Foothill H.S. in Orange County he caught 68 passes for 1407 yards and 20 TD’s. That’s 20.7 yards per catch, He came to SC to play baseball but, obviously Riley is doing his homework because he found out about the kids football skills and he asked him to come out and play some football. I don’t think that they even have to waste a scholarship on him because I think that he has a scholarship in baseball. I’m usually not too crazy about white receivers. However, though I don’t believe in Critical Race Theory, I do believe in Critical Speed Theory and Critical Jump Theory. A 4.35 40 and a 40 inch vertical leap ain’t bad. Neither is 1407 yards of receiving and 20 TD’s. His name is Austin Overn.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. You have to admit….Bohn earned his money by bringing in Lincoln Riley. Bohn is head and shoulders over Pat Haden(as an AD) who didn’t seem to have enough time to do some research. This guy is a proven winner. LSU made a good choice too. Brian Kelly is a proven winner. Oklahoma is taking a chance.Just because the guy was a good DC doesn’t mean that he will be a good HC. I would say the same for ND. Oregon is taking a big chance. The guy that they hired is only 35 years old. He’s only been coaching since 2008. He’s never been a HC before. As recently as 2015 he was a graduate assistant. Can you go from a GA to the HC of one of the biggest football programs in america in just under 7 years(especially when you are only 35 years old) and succeed big time? I guess anything is possible. I’m just saying that they are taking a big chance. Give Bohn credit. He made a great hire.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bohn would have my respect for the results he’s getting …if only he’d stay out of sight at live events……

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t know much about Bohn personally. But I do think that he has a goal to bring the USC football program back to prominence and he works hard at it. Whatever you think of Bohn….you have to admit, he’s light years ahead of the last 2 AD’s.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I agree, parcelman …. so much better that he doesn’t even belong in the same sentence with those other two.
        [Maybe someone who loves him will tell him he doesn’t need to be the life of the party —there’s enough bullshit at USC — he can be the quiet guy who just keeps getting things done — the accolades will follow]…..


      1. Reminds me when Arkansas cliched an Orange Bowl berth in 1977, and their fans threw oranges on the field to celebrate. When asked about it, Razorback Coach Lou Holtz said “Just glad we’re not going to the Gator Bowl”.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Charles –I don’t mind Carol declaring martial law ….what I DO mind is her issuing “shoot to kill” orders……

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Rutgers wants to be next man up. I like it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. WE could have been the luckiest of lucky teams… but we lacked the foresight to accept Cal’s forfeit …


      2. Look at those gritty little Scarlet Knights 👍👍

        Liked by 1 person

    2. It was the right thing to do. All the other bowls and the playoffs should be shut down too as well as the whole economy. This omicron is dangerous. Look at all the people who have died from it… know….what was his name again…..the one person in the world who actually died from this variant. Flu’s like this don’t come around very often…..just every year. We need to demand that everyone take a booster shot every week(52 times a year)….maybe even everyday. Stop complaining. Just take the shot. Shut up and obey or we’ll destroy you.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. USC ranked about #65 in average yards per carry. Yeah I don’t get the #1 overall OL rating. Henson’s A&M ranked #17 in average YPC. Michigan won the award for best OL in 2021.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Neil Callaway was their special consultant …..
      #yah… sometimes they looked good…. but sometimes they didn’t… that’s all you can ask…”


      1. “Number One In The Nation.” No one mentioned WHICH nation….


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