Can the USC Trojans return to the top of the Pac-12 in 2014? A 10-4 record is cause for celebration in some college football worlds, but not in So Cal.
That's especially the case when you consider the Trojans dropped three conference games. Can new head coach Steve Sarkisian help restore the Trojans to their past glory?
The spring game might give fans some indication. Here's how you can watch:
When: Saturday, April 19 at 4 p.m.
Where: Los Angeles Coliseum
TV: Pac-12 Network
Players to Watch
Cody Kessler, QB
At USC, the conversation almost always starts with the quarterback position. Because Sarkisian recently named Kessler the starter, the junior will be the center of attention at the spring game.
Sarkisian discusses the decision and other things in a postpractice interview posted by USC Athletics.
Kessler had been battling redshirt freshman Max Browne for the coveted spot, but Browne will have to wait for his day in the sun. Kessler's experience likely weighed heavy in Sarkisian's decision. Kevin McGuire of NBC Sports agrees.
The decision was probably not a hard one to make for the new USC head coach. Kessler played in all 14 games for USC last season (USC played a 13th regular season game at Hawaii, thus allowing them to play 14 games without playing in a conference championship game) and he led the Trojans with 2,967 passing yards and 20 touchdowns to just seven interceptions.
Kessler came into the spring as the No. 1 guy, and has held on to the spot leading up to this final practice of the season.
Kessler's primary weapons in the passing game are also going to get their share of attention. Nelson Agholor is clearly the No. 1 guy heading into the season, but Farmer has a chance to make some noise if he can stay healthy.
This time last year, Farmer tore his ACL and MCL in noncontact drills.
If he can remain on the field, he could give the Trojans an unexpected option through the air.
At 6'6", 300 pounds, Simmons is a potential monster in the middle for the Trojans defense. He transferred from Texas Tech and could make an immediate impact in the trenches.
Last season, USC's defense was 14th in the nation against the run. If Simmons can make his presence felt, the unit could improve even more against their opponent's ground game.