The USC football team, which has won or shared the last seven Pacific 10 Conference titles, has, for years now, been the closest thing the Los Angeles area has had to a big league football team. So how would the Trojans’ program actually stack up against an NFL team? Reporters Gary Klein and Sam Farmer examined the question, comparing USC with the San Diego Chargers. Here’s what they found:
USC: 12-1 in 2008; 93-22 this decade (88-15 in eight seasons under Pete Carroll); 2003 Associated Press national champion; 2004 Bowl Championship Series champion; seven Pacific 10 Conference championships.
Chargers: 9-9 in 2008; 75-76 this decade (22-15 in two seasons under Norv Turner); AFC West Division champions in 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2008.
USC: The Trojans travel with about 80 players for nonconference games, 64 for Pacific 10 Conference games. The Trojans travel by chartered plane. At home -- Marriott. On the road -- Marriotts, a Hyatt and similar establishments.
Chargers: NFL teams travel with 53 players, but game-day rosters are set at 45. The Chargers travel by chartered plane. At home -- Marriott. On the road -- Marriotts, Westins and a Ritz-Carlton.
USC: Nine full-time coaches. Head coach: Pete Carroll. Assistants: Jeremy Bates (assistant head coach offense, quarterbacks), John Morton (offensive coordinator, wide receivers), Rocky Seto (defensive coordinator, secondary), Ken Norton (assistant head coach defense, linebackers), Todd McNair (running backs), Pat Ruel (offensive line), Jethro Franklin (defensive line), Brennan Carroll (tight ends, recruiting coordinator). Graduate assistants: Justin Mesa (wide receivers), Kris Richard (cornerbacks).
Chargers: Fifteen full-time coaches. Head coach: Norv Turner. Assistants: Clarence Shelmon (offensive coordinator), Ron Rivera (defensive coordinator), John Ramsdell (quarterbacks), Charlie Joiner (wide receivers), Ollie Wilson (running backs), Rob Chudzinski (assistant head coach, tight ends), Hal Hunter (offensive line), Mike Sullivan (offensive line), Don Johnson (defensive line), Steve Crosby (special teams), John Pagano (linebackers), Steven Wilks (secondary), Cris Dishman (secondary), Greg Williams (linebackers).
USC coaches: Pete Carroll earned $4.4 million in total compensation in 2007, making him one of college football’s highest-paid coaches and the highest-paid private university employee in the United States, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education. Salary information for USC quarterbacks coach and play-caller Jeremy Bates and defensive coordinator Rocky Seto were not available, but former quarterbacks coach and play-caller Steve Sarkisian earned about $704,500 in total compensation in 2007.
Chargers coaches: Coach Norv Turner reportedly makes about $3 million a year. Salary figures for defensive coordinator Ron Rivera and offensive coordinator Clarence Shelmon were not available. According to an NFL source, coordinator salaries range from $450,000 to $3 million. The average NFL defensive coordinator makes about $850,000 with offensive coordinators at about $800,000.
USC players: A football scholarship is worth about $51,000 a year, which includes tuition and room and board. First-semester freshmen are housed in dorms. Players living off campus receive a monthly stipend of about $1,100 to cover rent and expenses.
Chargers players: Quarterback Philip Rivers recently signed a six-year extension that reportedly guarantees him $38 million and could be worth as much as $93 million. In 2008, the median salary for the Chargers was $1,337,400, according to USA Today.
Cost of a game (family of four)
USC: Parking $25; tickets $50 each; hot dogs $5.50; soda $5.50; peanuts $5; popcorn $6; souvenir T-shirt $16.95; small signable football $12.95.
Chargers: Parking $20; tickets $82 each (average); souvenir T-shirt $20; cap $20.
USC: School has 25-year lease at the Coliseum with extension options. The school’s rent is 8% of ticket sales. USC has a right to terminate the lease in May 2010 if the Coliseum Commission has not presented a financial plan illustrating the ability to make improvements for Years 3 through 10 as shown in the lease.
Chargers: Team lease at Qualcomm Stadium runs through the 2020 season. Each year between now and 2020 the team is eligible to relocate at any point between Feb. 1 and May 1 by paying the city of San Diego an amount specified in the lease. The 2010 amount is $53 million. In 2011, the amount is $25 million and it goes down year by year after that. The lease prohibits the city from suing the Chargers or the NFL to prevent relocation.
USC: Receives $350,000 to $750,000 per game depending on whether it’s a regionally or nationally televised game, which is paid into a Pacific 10 Conference revenue sharing pool.
Chargers: Received $94 million from NFL deals with CBS, NBC, Fox and ESPN last season, plus $22 million from agreement with DirecTV.
USC: Offense -- pro style. Defense -- 4-3.
Chargers: Offense -- pro style. Defense -- 3-4.
In the draft
USC: Senior safety Taylor Mays is projected as a first-round pick in the 2010 draft. In Carroll’s eight seasons, 14 USC players have been selected in the first round. Based on the yearly average, nine players on the current roster -- freshmen, redshirt freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors -- project as first-round picks.
Chargers: Roster includes eight first-round draft picks: running back LaDainian Tomlinson, quarterback Philip Rivers, cornerbacks Quentin Jammer and Antonio Cromartie, linebackers Larry English and Shawne Merriman, receiver Buster Davis and defensive tackle Luis Castillo.
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How the lineups match up
*--* OFFENSE: NFL players from USC Pos. Chargers Steve Smith, NY Giants; Keary WR Chris Chambers, Vincent Colbert, Detroit Jackson Sam Baker, Atlanta LT Marcus McNeill Deuce Lutui, Arizona LG Kris Dielman Ryan Kalil, Carolina C Nick Hardwick Chilo Rachal, San Francisco RG Kaynan Forney Winston Justice, Philadelphia RT Jeromey Clary Billy Miller, New Orleans TE Antonio Gates Carson Palmer, Cincinnati QB Philip Rivers Reggie Bush, New Orleans; LenDale RB LaDainian Tomlinson, Mike White, Tennessee Tolbert DEFENSE: NFL players from USC Pos. Chargers Lawrence Jackson, Seattle; Frostee E Jacques Cesaire, Luis Rucker, Cincinnati Castillo Mike Patterson, Philadelphia; T Jamal Williams Sedrick Ellis, New Orleans Keith Rivers, Cincinnati; Lofa LB Shaun Phillips, Stephen Tatupu, Seattle; Brian Cushing, Cooper, Kevin Burnett, Houston Shawne Merriman *Eric Wright, Cleveland; Terrell CB Quintin Jammer; Antonio Thomas, NY Giants Cromartie Troy Polamalu, Pittsburgh; Kevin S Clinton Hart, Eric Weddle Ellison, San Diego SPECIAL TEAMS: NFL players from USC Pos. Chargers David Buehler, Dallas PK Nate Kaeding None P Mike Scifres Bush PR Darren Sproles Bush KR Sproles *--*
*Transferred to Nevada Las Vegas after 2004 season.
ON THE WEB: A photo gallery of former USC players in the NFL.