12-1 overall, 8-0 conference, 1st Pac-10
Against the spread
6-7 (3-4 home, 3-3 away, 3-6 grass)
8-5 (6-1 home, 2-4 away, 6-3 grass)
+1.62 per game
2005 Season Summary
What more could possibly be said about the USC Trojans and the job that head coach Pete Carroll had done as they entered the 2005 season as the indisputable best program in all of college football as back-to-back national champions.
Since the midway point of the 2002 season, USC had gone 26-7 against the pointspread as it seemed as if the oddsmakers couldn’t post lines and overlays high enough for this cash cow.
Overlays would continue
USC was the biggest and most recognizable of all of the “name brand” college football teams and was also a preseason chalk to repeat as national champions for a third consecutive season. Not only was their popularity and respect nationwide but Las Vegas itself has considerable USC money that influences the betting lines, all of which meant that the overlays would continue in 2005.
No price too high
USC kicked off the 2005 season with a nationally televised ESPN game at Hawaii as whopping 36.5-point chalks in a 63-17 statement making win and cover. This was followed up with a frightening 70-17 home opening win against a respected SEC Arkansas program as incredible 32-point chalks. The following week at Oregon, as 20-point chalks in a most hostile environment against an improved team that would end up winning 10 games, USC scored a dominating 45-13 win as they seemed well oiled and primed to get that third national title while gamblers began to believe that there was no price too high that the oddsmakers could set on the Trojans. This was the exact point, however, when USC’s value would reach its peak against the betting lines.
Long overdue market correction finally arrived
USC next traveled to Arizona State to meet a Sun Devil team that had this game circled on their calendars for almost a year as they marked this game as a potential turnaround for their program. The Trojans were hefty 17-point chalks and fell way behind early and needed a late 4th quarter bail out drive to end up with a 38-28 win. They returned home to face rebuilding Arizona as ridiculous 39.5-point chalks. And yet there were plenty of gamblers at the time that were understandably willing to make the overlay. USC seemed to be suffering from a combination of boredom and fatigue, (following the near miss at ASU the week prior), as they scored a perfunctory 42-21 win for their second straight loss against the spread as the long overdue market correction had finally arrived.
Doing just enough to get by
The win at Arizona State should have served as a warning to gamblers as the Trojans began a pattern of doing just enough to get by straight up, as they seemed to feel that they were bullet proof and would find a way to win in the end. This was exemplified in their next game at Notre Dame, where as 13-point chalks the Trojans needed a controversial quarterback sneak TD at the gun for a 34-31 win. They toyed around at Washington the following week in a 41-24 win as 30.5-point chalks for their fourth consecutive loss against the spread.
Up and down
USC reclaimed a bit of their value in the following week against Washington State, as they covered the 28.5-point spread in a 55-13 win. This sparked an overlay in their next game, however, as they won but didn’t cover as 34-point home chalks in a 51-21 triumph over Stanford to begin and up and down pattern the rest of the way. USC next beat Cal 35-10 as 18.5-point road chalks. They next pulled off a narrow 50-42 epic escape as 23-point home chalks against Fresno. They took no prisoners in the regular season finale against archrival UCLA with a 66-19 statement maker as 21-point chalks.
Power dog lesson
In the nation championship game against Texas, USC was a 7-point chalk as Texas provided an excellent power dog lesson with a 41-38 upset win.