Nobody in the business does it quite like the Trojans. The swagger, the blue chip talent, the success on the football field, the BCS bowl wins, the pac 10 dominance, the 27-0 record in November, when it comes to pete carroll and USC, the Trojans are truly second to none.
With all but two starters returning on offense, we should expect more of the same from the Trojans this year right?
As Lee Corso would say…”Not so fast my friend” USC will lose at least 3 games this year and will see it’s BCS bowl game streak end and here are a couple reasons why.
1) Returning Starters - The Trojans will have to replace 8 starters from the best defensive unit in the country last season, including all three stud linebackers (Rey Maulaluga, Brian Cushing, and Clay Matthews). To make matters worse will be the early departure of QB Mark Sanchez now with the Jets. Any time you lose the bulk of your defense and have to replace your qb from a year ago a dropoff is to be expected. (Everywhere but USC of course, which is the problem)
2) Schedule – The Trojans have to go to Columbus in the second game of the season to play a very underrated Ohio St. team at night. This will not be an easy feat, especially considering how tough it is to play the bucks in the shoe at night. Couple that with the fact that USC will bring in an inexperienced QB and defense that has yet to gell yet, I expect Terelle Pryor to have a huge day throwing and passing and move his name right in the mix of the Heisman talk with the other three quarterbacks.
After that loss to the Bucks they still have remaining road games @ Cal, @ ND, @ Oregon, and @ Arizona st. I see them going 2-2 in this stretch when you consider that Cal, ND, and Oregon may all very well be top 15 teams this year.
Cal will have a very strong defense and running game this year and could conceivably challenge for the pac 10 crown. Oregon will be solid as well with Masolli and Blount returning. (need to get better on the defensive side of the ball but luck out by getting USC at home) even ND will be much better this year with all they have returning on both sides of the ball and look for Jimmy Clausen to have a break out year. Tons of talent return on both sides of the ball at ND and it will be put up or shut up time for Weis. This leads me to my next point
3) Bulls eye – Every week the Trojans will play with a huge bulls eye on their back. Everyone will play their best vs. USC and if USC goes down early at Ohio st. which I suspect they will, the invincibility aura will not be there. Teams will not be intimidated by USC this year especially when getting to play them at home.
So before you look at this projection with disdain look at the facts, USC will not get the luxury of sneaking up on anybody for they are who they are. The pressure of sustaining the status quo will ultimately be there undoing. The schedule is brutal, and teams will be smelling blood.
Look for USC to lose 3 games this year.