Tuesday Question - What Will Happen With USC?
USC FB Stanley Havili
USC FB Stanley Havili
Posted Sep 22, 2009

What will happen to USC for the rest of the year? Can the mighty program bounce back, or is the loss to Washington a sign that things are changing in the Pac 10? The CFNers give their thoughts in the Tuesday Question.

Tuesday Question ... Sept. 22

Now what for USC?

Tuesday Questions

- 9/15 The Young QB You Want
- 9/8 Are Michigan & ND back?
- 9/1 Pick the winners
Pete Fiutak

Q: What will happen to USC for the rest of this year?

You know exactly how this is going to play out. We've seen this movie before.

The Trojans will get their shiznit together, they'll blow away everyone in their path, especially when the spotlight is on, they'll go to the Rose Bowl and obliterate the overrated Big Ten team of the day, they'll complain that they deserve the national championship, and the fan base will whine that their team didn't get the same benefit of the doubt as a one-loss Texas did when it came time to decide who played in Pasadena on January 7th.

This is still the most talented team in the conference by a long shot. Get over the Cal love. The Bears beat a horrendous Maryland and struggled to put away Minnesota, who's probably the sixth or seventh best team in the Pac 10. However, the trip to Notre Dame could be a big problem since the Trojans will have to find some semblance of an offense by then to be able to keep up the pace. Forget about everything else. Washington State is one of the worst teams in the country, Oregon is mediocre, Arizona State isn't anything special, Stanford is vastly improved, but it's still Stanford, UCLA has no offense, and Arizona is down the middle average.

And no, I don't think USC is done in the BCS Championship chase any more than Oklahoma is. I'm a believer that Sam Bradford will return to the Sooners and they'll start to rock and roll again. Then there will be a wave of support and a line of thinking that OU would've been two points better than BYU with a healthy Bradford, and by the end of the year, it'll be national title-good again. The same could be said for USC if Matt Barkley returns health and USC wins the rest of its games. If that happens, USC lost to Washington because Aaron Corp was under center instead of the starter, and by the end of the year, the loss will be forgiven if Barkley really does turn out to be the difference maker. I don't necessarily believe that, but I can see that playing out.

It's my ongoing rant when it comes to USC. Play up to the talent level, win the games your favored in, which is all of them (you don't play in the SEC), and you'll get the respect you deserve in the national tile discussion.

Richard Cirminiello

Q: What will happen to USC for the rest of this year?

A: For the first time under Pete Carroll, the Trojans are going to pay the price for losing a game as a heavy favorite. The streak of seven straight Pac-10 championships is about to come to an end.

Sure, USC has the talent to go on a run and even get back into the national title discussion. It always does. However, this fall, it won't. Unlike a year ago, when the program was able to regroup behind a junior quarterback and the nation's best defense, the quarterbacks are pups and the defense is a little less ornery. Troy is more vulnerable than it's been in a long time, which could mean a couple more losses, at Cal and at Notre Dame. And if the Trojans don't survive Berkeley, their reign will be over and the Holiday Bowl just might be this year's destination.

A word to the rest of the Pac-10: You better get USC now, while it's a little out of sync and breaking in a true freshman quarterback. By next season, the Trojans will be hell-bent on restoring the order in the conference, and no longer so inexperienced behind center.

Matt Zemek

Q: What will happen to USC for the rest of this year?

As someone who--in the offseason--picked USC to not win the Pac-10 in 2009, it would be hard to change course and claim that USC will win the league yet again. The fate of the Trojans, as far as the Pac is concerned, lies largely in the hands of this Saturday's Cal-Oregon clash. If the Bears defeat the Ducks, Kevin Riley might gain enough mental toughness to play a solid 60 minutes against the Men of Troy on Oct. 3. Riley will be the key to that SC-Berkeley battle, so Pete Carroll's crew ought to root for Oregon. If the Ducks win, all bets are off on the West Coast; one would need to assess the manner in which Chip Kelly's team went about its business against Cal, and then reconsider the Pac-10 chase altogether.

In all likelihood, another turnover-filled loss is likely to emerge for USC before the year ends. What was said before the season? "11-2, with a BCS bowl win." Sounds about right. Weirdly enough, seeing another team win the Pac-10--while not something one is supposed to want--could liberate the Trojans from the Rose Bowl and give them a better (read: non-Big Ten) BCS bowl opponent. If USC doesn't win the Pac-10, a Sugar Bowl date with Alabama or a Fiesta Bowl fight with the Big 12 champion would sure get a lot of folks excited.
Michael Bradley

Q: What will happen to USC for the rest of this year?

In recent years, Southern California has survived its annual early-season breakdown and has risen to the top of a shaky Pac-10. The Trojans just had too much talent for the rest of the conference, which seemed resigned to the fact that once ‘SC had lost a game, that was it for the Trojans' bad news. This year will be different. The loss to Washington, coupled with the previous week's uninspired (except for the final drive) performance against Ohio State, shows that USC is not an overly talented juggernaut that merely takes its eye off the ball against lesser opponents. These Trojans are young and not nearly as loaded as previous incarnations.

October could be tough for Southern California, beginning with the trip to California in two weeks and followed by visits to Notre Dame (Oct. 17) and Oregon (Oct. 31). Even if Matt Barkley is healthy, it's possible that USC could lose two of those three games. At best, a loss to California seems highly likely. The USC program isn't on the decline, but it isn't at the levels it enjoyed over the past seven seasons. The Trojans have a minus-three turnover margin and are awful (23%) on third down. Their passing game can't yet get the ball downfield, and consistency in all areas is a major concern. By the end of the season, ‘SC might be pretty darn good, but right now, the Trojans aren't good enough to survive an October that features three road tests. That seven-season streak of 11-win seasons and Pac-10 titles ends.