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The Top 5 Quarterback Seasons in USC's Unparalleled History


USC Quarterback Season
© USA TODAY Sports

The University of Southern California, like many big-time college programs, has produced several all-time great college quarterbacks. Those quarterbacks have put up huge numbers to help the Trojans win conference championship games, Heisman Trophies and national championships. These are the top five quarterback seasons in USC football history.


No.1 USC Quarterback Season: Matt Lineart, 2004

This season was by far the easiest selection for this list. Matt Lineart is unquestionably the best quarterback in USC history and his 2004 season is a huge reason why.


USC Quarterback Season
© USA TODAY Sports

He passed for 3,322 yards and 33 touchdowns, won the Heisman Trophy and led USC to a dominant victory in the BCS national championship game over Oklahoma.


No. 2.: Carson Palmer, 2002

Before Lineart became a legendary quarterback for USC, he was the backup to USC’s first Heisman-winning quarterback: Carson Palmer.


USC Quarterback Season
© USA TODAY Sports

In 2002, Palmer had 33 passing touchdowns and 3,942 yards, was MVP of the Orange Bowl, was an All-American and set or tied 33 Pac-10 Conference and USC records. Palmer was a major part of the beginning of USC's dominant Pete Carroll era.


No. 3.: Caleb Williams, 2022

Caleb Williams had a ridiculous season in 2022, which helped him win the Heisman Trophy. Williams threw for 4,537 yards and 42 touchdowns. He also rushed for 10 scores.



He led USC to a spot in the Pac-12 championship game and the Cotton Bowl despite having one of the worst defenses in the country.


No. 4.: Matt Barkley, 2011

Based on USC’s all-time passing records, Matt Barkley could be considered one of USC's best quarterbacks ever, and he was at his absolute best in 2011, when he threw for 3,528 yards and 39 touchdowns, with a 69.1 completion percentage.



Barkley finished sixth in the Heisman voting that year and would have played in the Rose Bowl too had it not been for controversial NCAA sanctions that stripped them of their bowl eligibility. 


No. 5.: Cody Kessler, 2014

Before Williams’ dominant season in 2022, Cody Kessler had the best statistical season for any quarterback in USC history.


USC Quarterback Season
© Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Even though USC's record in 2014 was a substandard 9-4, Kessler’s raw numbers were too much to ignore. He threw for 3,826 yards and 39 touchdowns, with a 69.7 completion percentage.


Stay tuned to College Football Dawgs for continued reporting on the USC Trojans and other college football news.

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