USC Football: 5 Reasons Trojans Are Bound to Overachieve in 2013
With the 2013 college football season fast approaching, USC fans are looking forward to removing the bitter taste of 2012 from their collective memories.
However, in order to make these visions of grandeur to come true, the Trojans will have some significant obstacles to overcome, including replacing their four-year starter at quarterback, Matt Barkley.
And that's not all.
Record-setting wide receiver Robert Woods, center Khaled Holmes and safety T.J. McDonald will also be among a number of important players who have bid USC adieu.
In addition, unlike most years, not much is expected from head coach Lane Kiffin's crew as they head into the season as only one of a few teams that are vying for the Pac-12 South championship.
But all is not lost, Trojan fans.
USC still has a lot going for it this year, and there are reasons for hope for those who follow the men of Troy.
In fact, here are five of them...
USC Has a Very Favorable Schedule in 2013
While the Trojans do have their usual tough opponents scheduled for 2013, overall, this slate of games stacks fairly favorably for USC.
Yes, they do have to travel to Notre Dame, Arizona State and the always nightmarish Reser Stadium (Oregon State), but USC gets UCLA, Arizona, Utah and Stanford at home while also playing pushovers Boston College, Hawaii, Washington State and Colorado.
Avoiding Oregon altogether (unless they meet in the Pac-12 championship), USC has access to a schedule that should ensure a minimum of eight wins in 2013 and maybe more.
Now if the Trojans can include a couple of quality wins (Stanford, UCLA, Notre Dame, etc.) among those, they should fare well this year.
The Players Want to Win for Their Coaches
Although Lane Kiffin remains a polarizing figure within the program and especially among the Trojan faithful, that isn't necessarily the case with the players.
While he is far from "soft and cuddly," Kiffin is liked by his players, who appreciate his honesty and are impressed with his desire to play those who are most deserving.
And let's not forget that the rest of the staff is also admired and sincerely loved by its players.
Unit coaches Ed Orgeron, Tee Martin, James Cregg, John Baxter and the rest are father figures as well as coaches, and their players understand that a poor record in 2013 likely will result in an entire regime change and not just the replacement of their head coach.
In addition to every other necessary reason for winning, count keeping the coaching staff intact among them.
USC Is in the Unusual Position of Being Overlooked
When was the last time that USC was largely considered to be an "also-ran" when it came time to prognosticating the fortunes of the Pac-12?
That is where the 2013 Trojans reside in the minds of many who predict these things.
With UCLA and Arizona State considered by many to be the cream of the crop in the South division, USC finds itself as the underdog going into this college football season.
For that reason, look for the players to refocus and make 2013 a year where the Trojans climb back to the pinnacle of West Coast football.
Trojan Pride Will Come to the Fore
It's one thing to be overlooked, but it's quite another to have the passion to do something about it, and that is where Trojan pride comes in.
With the whispers of USC greats from the past spurring them on, this year's version of the men of Troy will find the motivation to dig deep to secure victory.
Along with the cardinal and gold colors that comprise the uniform comes a tradition that requires those who wear it to give just a little bit more, and it is this characteristic that can't be overlooked.
Look for the pride of USC to be the difference between loss and victory in 2013.
This Is Still USC and the Talent Runs Deep
It doesn't matter how much pride a team has if they don't have the talent to turn their efforts into victories, and that is something USC has plenty of.
This is a fact that is not lost on their opponents' coaches, either, as evidenced by Utah's Kyle Whittingham, who said recently: “From a talent standpoint, USC is still the benchmark. I don’t think there’s any question. They’ve had the most talent in the league for a lot of years.”
Sooner or later the Trojans will find a way to put all of that talent to good use, and when they do, they will climb their way back to the promised land of college football.
Actually, this entire slideshow should come with a disclaimer.
You see, truth be told, the Trojans won't overachieve at all in 2013. In fact, if USC goes 13-0 and plays in the national championship, those in the program will likely just shrug and say, "So what? This is what USC is all about anyway."
And they will be right of course.
While playing for the national championship may be a bit ambitious for 2013, the notion of success at USC is almost a birthright—something that is expected as part of the package of being a Trojan.
So will USC overachieve in 2013?
Perhaps, but not in the eyes of those who wear uniform or coach those that do.
For them, it will just be another year at the University of Southern California.