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Spared the Jinx
If you believe in superstition, USC Football caught a break this week. The Trojans were not the lone team featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated. The SI cover jinx, which has plagued past hopeful seasons for teams like Arizona, Oregon, and Penn State is not unfamilar to USC. Just before the 1995 season, SI placed Keyshawn Johnson on the cover and proclaimed USC was No. 1. A promising Trojan season was soon wrought with disappointment as John Robinson's crew got pummeled by Notre Dame and upset by UCLA before salvaging a Rose Bowl win over Northwestern.
Less than a year before, SI predicted UCLA would beat Arkansas to win the NCAA Basketball Tournament, but printed that on the top inside bar, leaving Felipe Lopez of St. John's to don the cover. Lopez became one of the biggest recruiting busts of all-time, while UCLA did in fact beat Arkansas to win the 1995 National Championship.
This year's SI cover has USC #1, but with Oklahoma's Jason White, LSU's Skyler Green, Georgia's David Greene, and Miami's Frank Gore all scattered on page 1 with Matt Leinart, you can't say the Trojans are the sole team prominately featured. And thus, USC avoids the jinx.
In a year in which virtually everyone picks the Trojans to win a National Title, that warms LAists heart.