USC Football: Is It Going to Be Business as Usual for the Trojans This Season?

Connor McKnightSenior Analyst IAugust 28, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 26:  Quarterback Matt Barkley #7 of the USC Trojans conducts the band after the game with the UCLA Bruins at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 26, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. USC won 50-0.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

USC fans across the nation rejoiced when last season came to an end.

No, it had nothing to do with their 10-2 record. The return of Matt Barkley was merely a side story. Trojans everywhere celebrated the end of the sanctions.

Heading into the start of the 2012 season this September, the USC football team sits atop the AP preseason rankings and is a favorite to usurp the SEC powerhouses at the BCS National Championship in January.

While USC fans ardently supported the squad with cries of things like “you can’t sanction the end zone” the past two years, it is inevitable that as far as Trojan football is concerned, the sanction period is seen like a "Dark Ages" of sorts.

It appears that the USC program intends to turn the page from the past two seasons and enter a future of dominance. Fans have to wonder, though, is it going to be business as usual for the Trojans?

USC flew up preseason rankings with the return of Barkley and his star receiver Robert Woods. With key returners on both sides of the ball, the squad looks poised to take the Pac-12 by storm.

Unfortunately, with the loss of scholarships because of the sanctions, there is a significant lack of depth behind the starters. With injuries already in camp, this should be a big concern for the Trojans, who, like any program, will battle significant injuries throughout Pac-12 play.

Further, all the programs in the Pac-12 are capable of an upset and have done it in the past.

When Stanford shocked the college football world with a 24-23 win over the Trojans at the Coliseum in 2007, it was a reflection on the depth of the division. Every matchup in conference play is tough and should not be taken lightly.

Either way, the Trojans have the firepower to make a run at the national championship.

Can USC return to its previous college football dominance? Or will it be a gradual progression to the top?