USC is expected to take a major step back under center this year, losing the Pac-12's all-time leading passer in Matt Barkley and replacing him with a cast of unproven players.
Fortunately for the Trojans, the quarterbacks they face are expected to downgrade in quality too.
They miss out on Marcus Mariota (Oregon) and Keith Price (Washington) within the conference, and Matt Scott is gone from Arizona. Plus, unlike last year's showdown with Ryan Nassib and Syracuse, no NFL-caliber arms lurk on the nonconference schedule.
But that doesn't mean it will all be smooth sailing. The Trojans still play in the loaded Pac-12 and still have a couple of capable nonconference opponents.
USC lucked out by missing Oregon, but unless the secondary improves in a hurry, it faces enough talented QBs to struggle again this year.