As it stands in September, the University of Southern California Trojans are better equipped to take down the SEC in the BCS Championship Game than their conference mates, the Oregon Ducks.
Don't get bogged down in the spread-versus-pro style garbage that ignorant fans will spew. The simple fact is, USC is a more reliable vertical threat than Oregon, and as the season progresses, that down-the-field impact will help prepare the Trojans for LSU or Alabama, if they get to the game.
Both teams have the wherewithal to get sideline-to-sideline and stretch defenses for the entire 53.3 yards. For Oregon, that means their option plays, the zone-read where the quarterback gives to let the runner get to the edge and, of course, the quick passing plays to get bodies in space. On USC's team, that means getting players to the edge in their quick passing plays and the screen game.
These are two dynamic offenses with playmakers who can get loose and cause trouble. The big difference between the two—again, it is not as simple as "the system"—is the reliable vertical threats.
For Oregon, De'Anthony Thomas is the one guy who has proven he can be dangerous downfield in the passing game. On the other hand, USC has both Robert Woods and Marqise Lee on the edge to put pressure on both sides.
That's not to say that Oregon won't get better. Rahsaan Vaughn, Keanon Lowe and Colt Lyerla are going to get touches. They are reliable players that will be a few of Marcus Mariota's primary threats. However, watch for freshmen Dwayne Stanford and B.J. Kelley, both dynamic threats, to grow their role as they become more consistent.
Stretching teams like Alabama and LSU side-to-side is a great thing because it helps create vertical seams. Those are the seams that they have used to beat each other in the past. Those are the seams Cam Newton used to come back against Alabama in 2010. Those are the seams USC, Oregon or whoever meets the two SEC powers down the road must exploit.
Right now, with two All-American-caliber wide receivers, USC has those threats. Oregon is still developing their own, and because of that, USC has a bit of an edge in that one task.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!