USC's Next Ten Games: "A Forecast In Brief"

Doug UrschelCorrespondent ISeptember 14, 2009

LOS ANGELES - SEPTEMBER 22:  Cheerleaders run onto the field ahead of the USC Trojans before the game with the Washington State Cougars on September 22, 2007 at the Los Angeles Coliseum in Los Angeles, California.  USC won 47-14. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

I preface this forecast with a couple of facts and some common sense.  I don't claim to be a wizard, but I do claim to have honed the skill of common sense to an art.  I had to, because I wanted to stay alive.  I'm in my sixties and I've been shot at by everything from a BB gun to a SAM (missile). 

Common sense has kept me from getting hit, except once, with a knife in the back.  I learned from that too.

Pete Carroll has a ton of college and NFL coaching experience.  He prefers to hire coaching assistants with NFL experience.  That's why I firmly wrote that it was impossible for Ohio State to beat USC.

I didn't care if there were 200,000 fans throwing batteries at the Trojans on the field.  I didn't care if this or that Trojan had been replaced for the game. 

Carroll has the highest percentage of wins of any active coach with more than five years on the job.  He's now 90-15 at USC and frankly it would be stupid to bet against his teams.  Remember, six of those losses were in his first year. 

In my mind, Ohio State's coaches were not up to the game.  The second factor was the Ohio State quarterback.  The "hike me the ball and I'll run with it" will fail against good defensive players and a good defensive coach. 

That's a look into how I look at things, so let's begin.

USC at Washington:  The defensive coordinator and the offensive coordinator  worked in the same positions on last year's USC team.  Also, the QB coach from last year's USC team is at Washington.

Steve Sarkisian is last year's OC and new head coach, but he didn't design USC's offense.  Pete Carroll did.

Nick Holt is the DC at Washington and was the DC for the Trojans last year.

The primary reason Holt left to Washington was to be "his own man."  He didn't design USC's defense and didn't have much control over it either.  Pete Carroll designed it and it was always been his "baby."

This will be a test of the above.  After all , they should know more about what USC is doing than Pete Carroll, right? 

USC will win by as many points as Pete Carroll wants to hang on his old buddy Sark.

USC vs Washington State:  This is a slaughter from the get-go.  The only way this isn't 60-0 is if Carroll doesn't want the coach to look as bad as he did last year.  Everyone holding a ticket stub will play. 

USC will win. 

USC at CAL:  Last season's score was 17-3 USC.  CAL's great running back, Best was 13 carries for 30 yards.  It was the first time that a Tedford coached CAL team had never scored a touchdown.

What has changed from last year?  Each team has lost some players.  CAL lost some of their best players.  They replaced them with new players who may end up good.  CAL gets few Blue Chip recruits, so it's hard to say how they will turn out.

USC lost some good and great players then replaced them with good and great players.  These are all Blue Chip recruits or players waiting their time to play.

Pete Carroll also hired a new OC and DC, as well as a great defensive line coach.

The same offense that CAL faced last year is back.  I have always said that USC has improved their defensive line.  That remark is now cast in stone from Ohio State.

Best may face the fastest defensive line and linebackers he will ever see in college.  I give any CAL receiver, backs included,  my regards if they should make it to USC's defensive backs.  

USC wins by a modest score.  I refuse to believe in CAL.  Tedford and CAL are brothers to Weis and Notre Dame.  If you are their fans, they will break your hearts. 

USC at Notre Dame: Much of the Notre Dame's perfect season is gone, isn't it?  Didn't they actually lose the second game they played?  There is nothing and I mean nothing that describes Notre Dame more than YOU Tube's "Real Men of Genius, Notre Dame."

If you watch that you will understand why I can't take too much stock in a Notre Dame team.  They had two wins in a row and were laying their meat-hooks into the National Title.  Even though the teams they played were girl volleyball teams given football uniforms, Charlie didn't care!  We won, we won, we won and that was Jimmy screaming.

USC wins in a laugher.  I will say that the Notre Dame QB will get hit, hit, hit, and hit again. 

USC vs Oregon State:  This will be a much different game. I have alluded to some of the reasons why USC's defense is better than last year's , but I must explain.  Otherwise how would USC beat Oregon State?

The Beavers are well coached, by Mike Riley.  He has college and NFL coaching experience, some as an assistant at USC.  The trouble with Oregon State is that they have very few Blue Chip athletes.  Therefore, Riley must coach a perfect game and a team like USC must be flat for it.

After beating Ohio State last year, USC waltzed into Beaver-land, wanted to watch the movie on the plane, have dinner, and return to Los Angeles.  Oops!  Wasn't there a game to be played?

USC stunk on ice for most of the game.  This time it will be totally different.  USC has nothing but defensive players who are fast, very fast, and they will not allow the lanes that allowed for the runs last year.  These players are still playing for their positions in the most competitive of ways.

This USC defense is very deep, hungry and will not be caught flat.

USC wins by a comfortable margin.

Oregon: This will be a test and maybe the final difficult one.  The "stadium and fan" noise factor was painted in the end zone of the Horseshoe.  The Ducks can't come up with that many people in their state.

If the game was held right now, USC would win, hands-down.  There's time for Oregon to get better.  On the other hand, there's time for USC to get worse.

USC always seems to manage to lose to a team they should beat and this is it.  USC may have a QB issue by the time they play Oregon.  There is nothing that will screw with the minds of the coaches and players like a QB issue will.

The locker-room could be divided, as well as the coaching staff.  Right now, there isn't any such issue.  Everything is peachy dandy, but people are already on Pete Carroll to be "fair" and play Arron Corp against Washington. 

The word is that Matt Barkley has a shoulder bruise from the Ohio State game.  If he isn't perfect by Tuesday, some say that Arron Corp should start.  They're saying, "Isn't that the way Corp lost his job in the first place, through an injury?"

If Corp starts against Washington, will Barkley be a starter again?

Oregon is that part of the season that just invites that sort of problem.  However, it's also a time that the issue could have already been resolved. 

USC will always have more talent and better coaching than their opponents, but that isn't all of the story. 

I expect USC to win and they should win.  It's going to be close.

USC at Arizona State:  There is no way that ASU will beat the Trojans.  Besides having an overrated coaching staff, they yearly overrate their players. 

ASU will have a freshman linebacker that believes he is good, but wouldn't get playing-time at USC.  Their QB is pedestrian at best.  This will be a cake-walk.

USC will win as big as they wish to.

USC vs Stanford:  This is an automatic Trojan win of pride, revenge, hate, vows, and promises made.  There's a better chance of Kate Beckinsale handing me a glass of wine in the next 30 seconds than Stanford has of winning that game. 

There's nothing more to it.

Thirty seconds have past and the Trojans will win the game, moderate to large.

USC vs UCLA: Rick Neuheisel just doesn't have enough talent on his team to threaten the Trojans.  By this time, USC will be looking at a 12-1 or undefeated season.

UCLA will be road kill.

USC wins big.

USC vs Arizona:  Judging by history, Arizona will put up a good fight, lose a couple of their players from hard hits and hang in there.   In my opinion, Stoops (Arizona) is a better head coach than his brother, Stoops (Oklahoma).

Coach Stoops at Arizona does more with non Blue Chip Athletes and Bob Stoops does with his Blue Chip ones at Oklahoma.  Stoops (Oklahoma) is losing the big games while his brother is winning them at Arizona.

I don't believe Arizona has a chance of beating USC in the Coliseum, but Stoops' teams rates watching, careful watching.

USC wins comfortably.

That is my very best forecast for the remainder of USC's regular season.  There is something else.  If USC, Texas, and Florida go undefeated, Florida will play Texas in the BCS Championship game.  That's a matter of fact.  You can either write it down, or the bank will accept it now.

The quality of coaching is so important because:

The best coaches make the best recruiters.  They know without having a good team, the better players won't come to their team.  Their recruiting is in their interest.

When the coaches have the better players, they can have confidence in their team to do what is needed.  Pete Carroll went for a touchdown on fourth and goal.  Ohio State did not.

Pete Carroll has a staff with the majority having NFL experience.  Tressel didn't and he will handle this loss than would Pete Carroll.

Tressel assured his staff and players that they played hard and yadda, yadda...

While most of the Trojans were leaping from joy, there is one that I can guarantee you had a terrible trip back.  The special teams coach came from the Raiders and he is not a happy man.   Pete Carroll can approach his special team's coach as a professional, not just a friend.  


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