Colorado vs. USC: Trojans Must Fine Tune Offense Against Overmatched Buffaloes

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistOctober 20, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 22:  Matt Barkley #7 of the USC Trojans makes a pass during the game against the California Golden Bears at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on September 22, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

USC should have little trouble beating Colorado on Saturday due to a wide talent gap between the two teams. That doesn't mean the Trojans can treat the game like a walk in the park, though. They must continue to improve their offense for bigger games on the horizon.

The Trojans have faded into the college football background since losing to Stanford last month, with national title contenders like Alabama and Pac-12 rival Oregon stealing the spotlight. But they still have a chance to make a major impact.

USC checked in at No. 10 in the first set of BCS rankings, fourth among one-loss teams. With games against No. 3 Oregon and No. 5 Notre Dame still on the schedule, the Trojans remain a serious contender in the BCS chase.

In order to go undefeated in the season's second half, however, the Trojans offense must start producing like the elite unit it was expected to be. The team ranks 50th in the nation at 32 points per game, and that needs to change.

Matt Barkley and Co. started the season on a high note, scoring 91 points in their first two games. The Trojans haven't crossed the 40-point barrier since that point and were able to muster just 14 points in the loss to Stanford.

If USC plans to keep pace with the high-flying Ducks or to light up the scoreboard against the dominant Fighting Irish defense, the offense has to elevate its level of play in a major way.

The pieces are certainly in place. Barkley, Silas Redd, Curtis McNeal, Marqise Lee and Robert Woods ensure the Trojans don't come up short in the talent department on offense. The results just haven't matched their potential as a whole.

Getting a chance to face one of the nation's worst defenses should give USC a chance to get all of those stars on the same page. Colorado is giving up an astonishing 41 points per game, including games with 69 and 51 points allowed.

The Buffaloes' offense isn't anything to write home about, either, ranking 106th in the nation. In other words, anything less than a blowout would be a disappointment. It should be a game where USC takes a commanding lead early and then starts working on things.

Everything from Barkley's timing with his receivers to finding the right amount of balance on offense must get tinkered with. It's probably the last chance they'll have to work on those finer points during actual game action with a tough schedule down the stretch.

Simply getting the win won't be enough on Saturday. USC's offense needs to show signs of improvement for the game to be considered a success.