This quote from a "veteran [NFL] personnel man" caught my eye in Don Banks' article on why Reggie Bush is in the lead to be the #1 pick in the Draft ahead of Matt Leinart:
"But with that team [USC], if you watch it closely, the guy that stirs that drink is the tailback. The guy is clearly the factor. They don't do anything revolutionary on offense. They just have better players than anyone else. They're backed up on their goal line, but they give him the ball on a simple hand-off and he goes 70 yards. He's a special player."
Gee, that sure seems inconsistent with Heismanpundit's "Gang of Six" Hypothesis that we impaled this off-season. It's a lot more fun to imagine that your program wins because it has smarter coaches and more sophisticated schemes as opposed to simply having better talent as a result of sitting in one of the most talent-rich areas in the country and having little or no competition for the talent in that region. Anyway, this quote piles more dirt on the "Gang of Six" hypothesis, not that Urban Meyer's struggles at Florida or Boise State's destruction in Athens didn't already do the job. (Heck, Les Miles always had effective offenses at Oklahoma State and his more talented LSU team couldn't get out of their own way for much of the year, which means that either SEC defenses are actually tough [and not the product of getting to play weak offenses] or the Big XII gets thrown into the mix with the SEC as a conference full of neanderthals who don't know how to script beautiful plays while sipping a lovely pinot grigio.)
Upon re-reading the paragraph above, I do want to point out that USC isn't guaranteed success because of their proximity to talent (see: the Paul Hackett era) and they do have a very good coaching staff. Coaching is still important and there are differences between USC's staff and the staffs of most other college football teams. I do think that Heismanpundit overstates the differences between the USC offensive scheme and offensive schemes throughout the rest of the country. He also seems to misunderstand the primary reason why his own program is so successful: unlike the rest of their conference, they can play defense. That's what separates USC from the UCLA and Oregon teams that were on top of the league in the late 90s. Pete Carroll is an excellent defensive strategist and he has loads of talent with which to work. Great defense has always been the common thread for national championship teams and it's Carroll's work on that side of the ball, rather than some sort of revolutionary offensive concept, that has USC going for a three-peat in the Rose Bowl.