USC's title hopes took a blow this weekend, but if you're a card-carrying member of the Trojans' family, there is still a crystal football with your name on it.
Getting to the title won't be easy. In fact, due to the blemish, USC is almost wholly out of control of their own destiny. On their end, all they can do is try to win the rest of their ballgames including the Pac-12 Championship, and then hope something shakes out nationally.
That "something" is a bit of ultimate chaos.
Right now, outside of the Big Ten and perhaps the Big East, every conference has a couple teams that are positioned better than the Trojans to get to Miami for the title game.
Clemson and Florida State are both playing solid football in the ACC. LSU, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina are pushing for a title shot. WVU, TCU, Oklahoma, Kansas State and Texas are all Big 12 teams looking to run the table.
The good thing for USC is that only three of those aforementioned teams can actually go undefeated. Clemson and Florida State have a date Saturday for one of them to fall out of the top 10. Ultimately, in the SEC, only the SEC champion can be a no-loss team. In the Big 12, where they have round-robin play, everyone gets to beat everyone, or at least try to.
For the University of Southern California football team, the obvious answer is taking care of business and then letting the chips fall where they may. For those of us looking to the future, it is pretty clear that USC's only true shot at getting to the title will be for teams all over the nation to lose.
If you're a Trojans supporter, root for the chaos theory.
That means Florida State and Clemson not just beating each other, but for whoever wins the ACC Atlantic to do so with an at least once-blemished record.
That means LSU losing to Florida, then beating Alabama, only to beat an undefeated Georgia in the SEC Championship Game—a Georgia team that already extinguished the undefeated flames of Florida and South Carolina.
That also means the Big 12 having a very 2008-type season where they tie for the title, except this time, there is no Big 12 Championship Game to push them up as the season ends.
Is it a long shot? Absolutely. Should the Trojans focus on winning the Pac-12 and getting to the Rose Bowl for the first time since 2008? Probably.
But hey, as we learned in 2007 and again in 2008, there is always a chance for a team who loses to rise up when the dust settles, especially if there are no undefeated teams to contend with.
USC will have their work cut out for them, and the hardest part will be winning the rest of their games. Stanford exposed deficiencies in USC's attack, and other teams will look for ways to duplicate those results.
For the Trojans' sake, Khaled Holmes' speedy recovery is a must. Matt Barkley needs the comfort of his center in front of him.
All hope is not lost for USC, but it will take some interesting occurrences around the nation to squarely land Lane Kiffin's team in the title hunt again.
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