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Fresh off its two-year postseason ban by the NCAA for rule violations, the USC Trojans are primed to make noise, but this time—they’re playing for keeps, as they finished No. 6 in last season’s AP Top 25.
The Trojans are lead by quarterback—and Heisman candidate—Matt Barkley, who is projected as one of the first players to be picked in next April’s NFL draft. Barkley will depart after this season, but not before posting some enormous offensive numbers.
Barkley isn’t the only offensive talent wearing a Trojan uniform. Wide receiver Robert Woods returns for his junior season. Woods caught 111 balls (fifth in the nation) for 1,292 yards, ranking him 13th. Also returning as a deep threat for Barkley is sophomore Marquise Lee, who busted onto the national scene with 1,143 yards receiving for 11 touchdowns.
The Trojans have been put on the shelf for the last two years, playing for no justifiable or tangible symbol of success. They are one of the most talented teams for the country, but look for them to be a bit more chippy or “spirited” each week. They have something to play for finally, something very tangible and realistic, given this group—a national championship. The Trojans are hungry, so look for them to make noise throughout college football all fall.