With their embattled head coach on the hottest seat in the Pac-12, the USC Trojans will embark on the 2013 season under the microscope after flopping in a historic manner last year.
Coming off of a 7-6 record in 2012 with a preseason No. 1 team, the Trojans will attempt to make up for those transgressions by bouncing back in a year when they will be replacing their team leader in quarterback Matt Barkley.
At the same time, head coach Lane Kiffin will be leading the program with his job on the line, and if there is not significant improvement in 2013, certainly USC will find itself with a new head man in 2014.
It is a daunting challenge to be sure, and for the Trojans to find success this year, a lot will have to go right.
Of course, the one invariable factor in all of this is who USC will play in 2013, and it is this component that may shed some light on how the season winds up for the men of Troy.
This slideshow will take a far-too-early look at this year's schedule and offer a game-by-game prediction on how the Trojans might do.
And although any forecasts this early can be construed as exercises in futility, they can serve as jumping-off points for those who lend any credence whatsoever to prognostication.
Of course, I reserve the right to completely change my mind as time goes by.
That's fair, isn't it?