As the Trojans prepare to embark to sunny El Paso for a bowl game they couldn't have anticipated at the start of the year, the other college football "season" remains up in the air.
That, of course, is high school recruiting—the life blood of any successful college football program.
And while their play on the gridiron may have resulted in disappointment for USC, their efforts in luring prep stars to Los Angeles has been far more successful this year.
This slideshow will look at recruiting for the Trojans as the February letter of intent signing day draws near and will offer some news regarding several prospects along with a prediction or two as well.
Although USC is operating with reduced scholarships to offer—thanks to the NCAA's sanctions—there are still plenty of surprises out there that may affect the Trojans class of 2013.
Here are some of them.
Ever since he gave the Trojans his verbal commitment, there have been rumblings that Santa Monica wide receiver Sebastian Larue's final destination may not wind up at USC.
Larue, a very talented Scout.com 4-star prospect, has recently confirmed that he will also visit Texas A&M and Notre Dame before making his final decision.
Although Larue said he remains committed to the Trojans, according to an article by Fox Sport's Next David Lombardi, Larue also said that "the door is still open" regarding his recruiting.
Larue is a difficult read, but don't be surprised if he isn't sporting the cardinal and gold next year.
Upland, CA defensive end Joe Mathis is a tough cat to figure out when it comes to where he will play football next year.
At one time, Mathis was very enamored with Michigan where he struck up a friendship with Wolverine recruit David Dawson and it appeared just a matter of time before Mathis would verbal to the maize and gold.
Now the talented end has released an updated list of his final five suitors and lo and behold, the Wolverines are nowhere to be found.
Instead, Alabama, UCLA, Texas A&M, Washington and surprise, USC have made the cut for the monster defensive player whose size (6'4", 255 lbs) makes him a natural pass-rusher off the edge but whose speed (4.69 forty) makes him versatile enough to play linebacker.
Despite the fact the he included the Trojans in his top five, it would be a surprise if he wound up with USC although it should be noted that with D-line coach Ed Orgeron as his recruiter, nothing is impossible.
The Trojans—if things go as planned—will only have a couple of scholarships available by the time letter of intent signing day rolls around.
To fill those spots, USC will look to bolster their defense and the two most likely candidates to help them in that area are a pair of recent visitors to the land of Troy.
Highly-regarded defensive tackle A'Shawn Robinson is a "soft verbal" to Texas according to Scout, but by all accounts, he enjoyed his trip to Los Angeles very much and USC is rumored to be one of his favorite teams growing up.
Meanwhile, safety Leon McQuay III made his second trip west in the last year and he also had a blast according to various Trojans who hosted him.
Also, in McQuay's case, circumstances that will be discussed in the next slide will make his commitment to the Trojans very favorable.
In covering recruiting for the last few years, I have come to realize there are very few sure things when it comes to swaying the impressionable young minds of high school football players, but of this I am sure:
Max Redfield will not be a Trojan come letter of intent signing day.
Redfield, a Scout.com 4-star safety, was a one-time Trojan verbal commit, but a trip to Notre Dame caused him to back off of that and open his recruiting back up.
Since then, Redfield has entertained USC's coaches for home visits and many have suggested that the Trojans have pulled even with Notre Dame for his services.
Don't be fooled.
Redfield—for some reason known only to him—is jerking the Trojans around and has no intention of signing with USC.
In fact, Redfield has already made up his mind and there is little doubt that he will be enjoying his winters in South Bend come 2013.
For Trojan fans, the time has come to really hope that Leon McQuay pulls the trigger for the cardinal and gold.
Because Max Redfield won't.