USC Receives AP National Championship Trophy

Jan 5, 2004

AP Sports Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) - To chants of 'Pete! Pete! Pete!', USC coach PeteCarroll accepted The Associated Press' college football championship trophyMonday, the Trojans' first title in 25 years.

'It's so great to be standing in front of you representing what thisuniversity has always been about: winning championships, nationalchampionships,' Carroll said during the on-campus presentation.

Several hundred students and fans interrupted Carroll's remarks by yellinghis name. Some players chimed in, including quarterback Matt Leinart anddefensive end Kenechi Udeze.

'How do you top this?' Carroll asked, accepting the AP's silver trophy.'How about doing it again a couple times?'

USC earned 48 of the 65 first-place votes early Monday to finish No. 1 inthe AP poll. The Trojans (12-1) topped USA Today/ESPN coaches' poll championLSU, which beat Oklahoma 21-14 in BCS title game Sunday night in the SugarBowl.

USC beat Michigan 28-14 in the Rose Bowl on Thursday to stake its claim tothe title.

The coaches were obligated to crown LSU (13-1), even though USC held the topspot in their poll going into the bowls. Three of the 63 coaches broke theagreement by voting the Trojans No. 1, but it wasn't enough to win that poll.

'The argument about the system is out there and that's probably good,'Carroll said. 'We did what we could, impressing the people in the AP poll andthe coaches who felt free to vote.'

Clay Haswell, the AP's chief of bureau for California and Nevada, presentedthe trophy to Carroll.

Clay Haswell, the Associated Press' chief of bureau for California and Nevada, front row, second from left, presents The Associated Press national college football trophy to USC Head Coach Pete Carroll, front row, second from right, Monday, Jan. 5, 2004, during ceremonies on the steps of Heritage Hall on the Los Angeles campus. USC President Steven Sample, right, and athletic director Mike Garrett, left, are joined by USC players, back row, from left, Matt Leinart, Shaun Cody, Kenechi Udeze and MarcellAllmond. It is the school's first national title in 25 years.

It's the first split national championship since 1997, when Michigan won theAP poll and Nebraska was the coaches' choice. The Bowl Championship Seriesstarted the following season with the goal of determining an undisputedchampion.

The Trojans have been involved in three of the 11 split titles in collegefootball history. In 1978, they won the coaches' poll while Alabama won the APpoll, and in 1974, the coaches picked USC while the media picked Oklahoma.

The Trojans hadn't won the AP poll since 1972, when they were the undisputedchampion. That was also the last time a Pac-10 team won the AP title.Washington won the coaches' poll in 1991.

USC has four AP titles overall, tied with Minnesota, Nebraska and Ohio Statefor the fifth-most.

In the final, post-bowl AP poll, USC received 1,608 points to beat out LSUby 32 points. Oklahoma was third, followed by Ohio State and Miami.

The top five in the coaches' poll was LSU, USC, Oklahoma, Ohio State andMiami.

Michigan, Georgia, Iowa, Washington State and Miami of Ohio rounded out theTop 10. Florida State was next, followed by Texas, Mississippi, Kansas State,Tennessee, Boise State, Maryland, Purdue, Nebraska and Minnesota.

Utah, Clemson, Bowling Green, Florida and TCU rounded out the poll.

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