USC Football: Predictions for Trojans' Final Two Games

Justin WeltonAnalyst IINovember 11, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 10:  Running back Curtis McNeal #22 of the USC Trojans carries the ball  in the end zone after scoring on a 22 yard touchdown pass play in the third quarter against the Arizona State Sun Devils at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 10, 2012  in Los Angeles, California. USC won 38-17.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Remember when the USC Trojans were labeled as the best team in the nation? Seems like a distant memory. Three losses later and the Trojans are simply fighting to stay in the Top 25.

With two games to play, against No. 18 UCLA and No. 4 Notre Dame, the Trojans will be tested in back-to-back games unlike any other time this season. We will learn more about the character of head coach Lane Kiffin and his Trojans. 

Here are three predictions for the final two games of the season. 



Matt Barkley records 9 TD and 5 INT

We expected Matt Barkley to be nearly perfect this season and of course he wasn't able to live up to those lofty expectations. 

Barkley has turned it on in the touchdown department over the past four games, passing for 17 touchdowns. In the final two games of the regular season, Barkley will need to play close to perfectly for USC to come out with two victories.

That means no turnovers, better reads and higher passing percentage. Barkley has had at least two turnovers during the past three games, and three on Saturday vs. Arizona State.

Barkley has been forcing the issue this season because he knows his defense isn't very good. He knows he has to score loads of points which causes him to take more risks. 

In the final two games, his ways will continue. But the big question will he be able to stay away from the turnover bug? I don't think so.



Marqise Lee and Robert Woods each reach the 15 TD mark

The Trojans' standout wide receiving duo of Marqise Lee (13 TD) and Robert Woods (10 TD) will catch seven touchdowns thrown by Matt Barkley in the final two games of the season.

Lee has recorded 98 receptions and 1,447 yards to go along with his 13 touchdowns. His ability to do it all in the passing game has earned him a high draft pick whenever he decides to enter the NFL Draft.

Woods is having a down season compared to his 111 receptions, 1,292 yards and 15 touchdown campaign from 2011, but he's still producing at a nice level. 


USC loses final two games

USC was overrated from the beginning. They never quite had the defense to keep up with some of the higher-scoring teams in the league. Two of their three losses came when the Trojans gave up 39 or more points, including 62 to Oregon.

UCLA is a team that averages 37.7 points per game, a number that is 22nd in the nation. The Bruins are also a team that has ran off four straight victories while USC has lost two of three. 

These two squads are heading in different directions.

Prediction: UCLA 44, USC 38.



Notre Dame travels to the Los Angeles Coliseum for the final game of the season. This is the game I could see USC winning because Notre Dame's offense isn't as good as some of the others they have faced in the PAC-12. 

However, we saw what the Fighting Irish did in Norman against the Sooners and that's the team we will see to finish the season. When they feel like the underdog, Brian Kelly and his staff know how to motivate their players.

Prediction: Notre Dame 31, USC 28.