On a record-setting day where Heisman Trophy candidate Matt Barkley threw six touchdowns to become the PAC-12 career passing touchdown leader, the USC Trojans still lacked something.
Passion? Showmanship? Flashy-drives that USC fans have been used to in the past when Leinart, Sanchez or Bush put on the cardinal and gold? I’m not sure, but this team doesn’t seem like USC teams of the past.
They have all the talent in the world—a star quarterback, a quality running back and an elite pair of wide receivers who should be feared by anyone in the league, yet USC isn’t playing up to their full potential.
I’ve been going to USC games since I was 10 years old, maybe longer. I’ve seen the good times and the bad times. I’ve stuck with them through the bowl ban and the mudslinging, celebrated with them during the Bush-Push back in South Bend, cried in the loss to Texas at the Rose Bowl and cheered them on both at home and on the road during the Pete Carroll era.
I know this program and this team is no different from the past teams. Despite not having any big-name players on defense with the days of Polamalu and Clay Matthews gone, their high-powered big-name offense should make up for it. But why hasn't it?
I’ve searched and searched for the answer. I’ve asked my grandmother who is an alum, I have asked my father who attended, but no one can figure out why USC isn’t playing and walking around like USC. They beat a lowly Colorado team (I’m even an alum from there—go buffs!) but it wasn’t pretty. Against a defense that is giving up 42 points per game, it was 33-6 at halftime.
It could have easily been 33-21 at halftime had Colorado converted some plays and not thrown an interception in the red zone. A potential 33-21 halftime score against a team that is 1-6? And only beating Utah and Washington in consecutive weeks by 10? This isn’t the USC I know.
Something needs to change if USC has a chance at beating the high-powered and flashy No. 4 ranked Oregon Ducks in two weeks. It’s important not to look past a road game at Arizona this weekend, but in order to stay in the National Championship contention spotlight, the defense needs to pick it up and Matt Barkley needs to keep pounding on the air assault.
Kiffin needs to have confidence in his quarterback. Regardless of mistakes that might be made, don’t change the offensive scheme. In order to beat Oregon, Notre Dame and even UCLA (I hate typing that out), the defense needs to buckle down and the offensive unit needs to be confident. The same chant that erupts at every game in the Coliseum by the student section, needs to be echoed by the players. "You are SC."
After a two-year postseason ban, it’s time for the world to get re-acclimated with the University of Southern California Trojan Football team.
Cardinal and Gold, start believing.