COLUMN: The Coliseum has lost its edge

COLUMN: The Coliseum has lost its edge

first_imgOhio State. Alabama. Florida State. They all have one thing in common: It’s almost impossible to beat them at their home stadiums. In fact, these teams are a combined 72-3 at home since the 2012 season.The fact that these teams are so dominant at home should come as no surprise. Over the past four years, Ohio State, Alabama and Florida State have been some of the most consistent teams. In fact, these three teams are the past three NCAA champions.USC used to be this dominant at home. Teams hated to make the trek to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. However, times have changed.Last Thursday, the Trojans dropped their second consecutive home game, a feat that hasn’t happened since 2001 — Pete Carroll’s first year in charge.  In fact, since Carroll’s departure after the 2009 season, the Trojans have struggled mightily at home.During Carroll’s nine-year tenure from 2001-09, the Trojans lost a combined five home games. As noted above, two of those came in his first year as head coach and another two came during his last season in 2009. The only other loss was a 24-23 stunner to Jim Harbaugh’s Stanford in 2007.To put it straight, the Trojans were basically invincible at home from 2002-08 going 41-1 and at one point having an impressive 32 home game winning streak. The Coliseum was the holy grail of stadiums. The crowd, the media and the players all knew the Trojans were going to win every home game.Everything changed after the 2008 season. In 2009, the Stanford Cardinal handed the Trojans their worst home defeat in ages — a whopping 55-21 loss. You have to go back to 1966 when the Fighting Irish shut out the Trojans 51-0 at the Coliseum.The aura of the Coliseum faded after that Stanford game and seemingly never recovered. After only suffering five home defeats during the Carroll era, the Trojans have lost five games in the past three years, and 11 games since Carroll bolted for the NFL in 2009.Under Kiffin and Sarkisian, the Trojans lost six games against unranked opponents and boast only one win over a top 10 ranked team — 2013 against No. 4 Stanford. Even more insinuating is the fact that the Trojans only have one home win each over UCLA and Notre Dame since Carroll’s departure.The Coliseum is simply no longer feared.Teams like Washington State, Arizona State and Washington would have never dreamed of  beating USC at home before. Most of this is a result of the coaching. Kiffin and Sarkisian were sub-par head coaches at best, but some of the blame falls on the shoulders of the fans as well.Growing up, I had the privilege of watching the Trojans during their impressive 32 home game winning  streak. Every time I went to the Coliseum, the stadium would be rocking. Oftentimes, it was so loud you could barely hold a conversation with the person next to you if you weren’t screaming.Last Thursday, the attendance at the Coliseum was pathetic.I remember gazing around the Coliseum and thinking to myself, “Wow, I haven’t seen this place so quiet in years.”The Coliseum was half empty, the student section didn’t fill up until mid-way through the second quarter and the only time there was life was when the Trojans needed a stop late in the fourth quarter.As fans, we have to do better. Ohio State consistently ranks in the top three of attendance with an average of 105,000 fans per game. The Trojans, who have one of the largest seating capacities at 90,000, have had an average attendance of just 73,000 over the past five years.Heck, even Michigan, who went 5-7 last season, had an average attendance of 104,000 people. Sure the stadium holds 109,900, but almost selling out every game when your team is that awful is pretty impressive.The Coliseum can get back to its glory days, but it starts with the fans. Every game during the Carroll era was basically a sell out. The Trojans haven’t sniffed anywhere near 90,000 fans since 2008.The Trojans will reach greatness again, but I think it has to start with winning home games. Losses to 17-point under dogs at home can’t be tolerated any longer.The Coliseum needs to be feared once again.Nick Barbarino is a senior majoring in business administration. His column, “Beyond the Arc,” runs Thursdays.last_img

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