Do Officials Treat USC Differently?

October 31, 2007 – 9:19 pm by Ryan Phillips

I just read this article on Trojan football program. The story analyzes the penalty yards assessed to , a Web site closely tied the USCPac-10 teams since 2001, the beginning of the Pete Carroll era. Many people associated with the program have always contested that over the past few seasons – while the Trojans were dominating – opposing teams were given far more leeway on holding, pass interference and other judgment calls than the Trojans. I don’t know if I believe that, but the numbers are pretty compelling.

Starting in 2004 Trojan opponents are last in penalty yards against in each season (including this year). This season Trojan opponents are averaging just 43 penalty yards per game, more than eight yards less than the next team with 51.2. From 2004, 2005 and 2006 when USC carried a 36-3 record, the stat is nearly identical. Carroll and his staff have all noted this in past seasons but this year the discrepancy has become even more apparent. USC currently ranks last in the Pac-10 in penalty yards per game, at 74.5, Arizona State is the closest to them at 69.5.

This past weekend USC compiled six penalties while Oregon only had one. In eight games this season the Trojans have had more penalty yards than their opponents. Against Washington earlier this season, the Trojans had three personal foul penalties called them against them that the Pac-10 eventually stated were bad calls. Pac-10 officiating has always been awful, see: Oregon-Oklahoma last season. But I’m capable of watching a game from a non-homer perspective despite being one, and Trojan defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis is held on virtually every play without a call.

Like I said, I don’t know if USC gets treated differently but the numbers are pretty compelling. Penalties other than false starts, and offsides calls, are largely judgment calls by officials. And for the most part, if a game is well officiated, the penalties should come out virtually even on both sides because holding and illegal contact/pass interference calls happen on almost every play. It’s just a matter of the officials throwing a flag. Apparently they are just throwing those flags against the Trojans more often than other teams. My future wife, Whitney Port, has to be shocked and appalled.

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  1. 4 Responses to “Do Officials Treat USC Differently?”

  2. Boo friggin’ hoo. Uncle Pete’s team isn’t as good this year, so now they cry about too many penalties being called on them. Give me a break.

    Remember Phillips, there are lies, damn lies, and then there are statistics.

    By Anonymous on Nov 2, 2007

  3. Well, as a student who has attended every home game and a lot of away games (Cal and stanford once each, Notre Dame, Washington, ucla, asu, and arizona) I can attest to our getting penalties more often. However, this is not an excuse for this year, our play calling isn’t making up for this seeming anti-USC officiating. In the end, you just have to overcome it. Now basketball, when we play ucla is a whole different ballgame. You want to see terrible calls going against only one team, check that out.

    By Anonymous on Nov 2, 2007

  4. I see it, but we can overcome it. It’s just the man tryin to keep a brotha down. FIGHT ON!

    By Pete Carol on Nov 2, 2007

  5. USC was overwheling in the key areas, if weak on special teams. OK; no team is perfect. But forget that: What was happening in that amazing photo near the bottom half of that article? Did that guy squeeze some part of the gorgeous girl in the yellow Bikini? Sure wish I could.

    By Don H on Nov 24, 2007

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