As of now, Southern California is on the outside looking in at the BCS Championship picture. Sitting at 10th in the first BCS rankings, the Trojans definitely aren't where they hoped to be back in August.
Against Colorado tomorrow, USC will have an opportunity to position themselves for a real run at a spot in the BCS Championship game.
Colorado is a weak team, with only one win on the season against lowly Washington State. USC is coming off a few good, but not great, conference wins against Cal, Utah and Washington.
If they can use this Colorado game to work out some of the wrinkles in the offense and get things back in gear, there's a real chance for them to become contenders again. This season, the Trojans have played without the confidence that made them so formidable in the mid-2000s.
A dominating performance for their fourth straight conference win would be a huge boost to Lane Kiffin's squad. And the way the rest of the picture is shaping up, there's a legitimate chance that USC could be in it.
USC is actually still nearly in full control of their own destiny. There are four undefeated teams ahead of them in the BCS standings. Luckily for USC, two of those four teams are on the Trojans schedule.
Florida is No. 2, Oregon is No. 3, Kansas State is No. 4 and Notre Dame is No. 5 in the BCS rankings. USC gets to play both Oregon and Notre Dame at home. If they can run the table, there's a very good chance that would be enough to put them in the top two at season's end.
Now, they also have games against Arizona, Arizona State and UCLA, none of whom should be taken lightly. But again, it still comes down to USC beating the remainder of the teams on their schedule.
Florida still has games against South Carolina, at Georgia, Missouri, and at Florida State. It wouldn't be a surprise at all if they lose one or even two of those matchups.
The rest of Kansas State's schedule is extremely difficult: at West Virginia, home against Texas Tech and Oklahoma State, at TCU and Baylor and then home against Texas. I'd be shocked if they walked away from that schedule without a loss, and wouldn't be surprised if they dropped two of the games.
That leaves Matt Barkley and USC with the potential to be right there with a few other one-loss teams. If Stanford stays ranked, and USC beats both Oregon and Notre Dame (preferably while the two are still undefeated) then there's a very real chance that the Trojans will be in the championship.
Barkley has fallen back a bit since starting the season as the Heisman favorite and potential first-overall draft pick. But he's a talented kid who knows how to win and has two great targets in Robert Woods and Marqise Lee.
If the defense can hold up, I think Barkley will get his game back on track and the Trojans will have a real shot to take down Oregon. If they come into that Notre Dame game with one loss while the Fighting Irish stay undefeated, that would end up being the game of the season.
But it all starts with this Saturday against Colorado. A big win will help boost USC's confidence and put them back on track to make a run in the BCS.