Other sports trump football on campus

first_imgWe know all the statistics and accolades.They are printed on cardinal T-shirts sold in the bookstore: seven consecutive 11-win seasons, BCS Bowls and Pac-10 Championships — not to mention the two national championships won in the middle of this decade.Best of the best · Of all the sports on campus at USC, the water polo team has been the most impressive, columnist Kenny Legan writes. – Photo courtesy of Joel ZinkThese stats seem to speak for themselves and declare USC football the best sport on campus.Wait, Kanye, what are you doing here?Hold on Kenny, I’m gonna let you finish. But I gotta say that men’s water polo is way better than USC football.You know, he might be on to something. Since August 2007, USC teams have won four national championships — none in football. Last year, USC placed fourth in the Directors Cup, an honor given annually to the best athletic program in the country, and five USC sports finished higher in their respective national rankings than the football team’s fourth place finish last year.So with that in mind, I’m here to tell you that, contrary to popular belief, USC football is not the best sport on campus. It might not even be in the top five.Let’s start with the men’s water polo team, which has recently enjoyed unparalleled success. Last year, they won the national championship with an undefeated record, and they haven’t lost a match since the national title game the year before in December 2007. They are an astonishing 53-3 in their last three seasons — including their 5-0 start to this season. In other words they have become almost as predictable as a Cincinnati Bengals player’s final destination on a Saturday night.If that’s not enough, two-meter J.W. Krumpholz won the Peter J. Cutino Award last year as the best men’s collegiate water polo player in the nation — as a junior. The Tim Tebow of water polo is back to defend his crown this year right here at McDonald’s Swim Stadium.The football team hasn’t had a Heisman Trophy winner since 2005 and has never had a player receive the top collegiate football accolade twice.Not to be outdone in the pool, the women’s water polo team has enjoyed almost equal success, as they’ve finished second in the nation three out of the last four years, making the men’s and women’s teams the best tandem since Hank Aaron and a baseball bat. The Women of Troy went 26-2 last year, and two-meter Kami Craig won the Cutino Award for the women. All this means that Jovan Vavic, head coach of both the men’s and women’s teams, went 55-2 last year and coached two Cutino Award winners for those of you keeping score at home.Moving from the water to dry land, the women’s golf team is clearly the best team off campus (when was the last time you saw a golf course, never mind a golf ball, between Vermont Avenue and Figueroa Street?), and it’s making a very strong case to be the best team of them all. They won the 2008 NCAA Championship, had five All-Americans on that team, and coach Andrea Gaston was named NCCA Coach of the Year. Overall, they’ve finished in the top-4 five times in the last seven years. It’s not quite the run of the football team, but the golf team’s recent success, including a second place finish in 2006 and a third place finish last year, trumps the squad led by Pete Carroll.There are plenty more sports deserving of attention that I’ll try to mention in the space of a tweet. The women’s soccer team won the NCAA championship in 2007, as did the men’s tennis team last year. Men’s volleyball finished second last season and had three players selected to the U.S. Men’s Junior National Volleyball Team. Across the net, the women’s volleyball team also appeared in the Final Four in 2007.Football does not stand in its own category as far as success is concerned. At a school where the best athletes in the nation congregate in almost every sport, success is measured in national championships. Four teams have won national titles, and countless others have played in the championship game since the football team’s last appearance in a title game in 2006.Make no mistake; I’m not taking anything away from the success of the football team. Granted, it does have a different playoff system than any other sport. Any school would beg just as hard for a football team like ours as Serena Williams did for the public’s forgiveness.But in a world where everything is instant, our attention spans get shorter and shorter. It’s no longer justifiable to rely on historical achievements or set up for future success; our thirst for victory lies in the present, as is evidenced by the firing of three NFL offensive coordinators before the season even started.The football team might be the best team over the last seven years. Yet, so many teams on campus have risen to a higher level recently. Maybe this is the year that they change that and once again become kings of Trojan sports.But until then, the crown lies elsewhere.“Spittin’ Sports” runs Fridays. To comment on this article, visit dailytrojan.com or email Kenny at [email protected]last_img

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