Arizona or Washington? Rival Storylines Define The USC Can't-Miss Game

Reid BrooksAnalyst IApril 28, 2010

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 13:  Lane Kiffin (L) new college football coach of University of Southern  California greets quarterback Matt Barkley after arriving for a news conference at Heritage Hall on the campus of USC on January 13, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

There were two under-the-radar teams that accounted for half of USC's losses last season.

This year, under the guidance of Lane Kiffin, the Trojans should be out for the blood of both schools.

However, when defining a "can't miss" game of 2010, the storyline of former partners and all-star quarterbacks makes USC-Washington a really tough candidate to beat. And to make it even better for Trojan die-hards, there will be a chance to watch it at home-sweet-home.

Oct. 2 is the date to set on your calendar for a trip to the L.A. Memorial Coliseum; it's also a homecoming for Steve Sarkisian.

That will mark the first time he has been a head coach on Trojan home turf, though to the disappointment of many who loved him during his Los Angeles years, he'll be on the opposing sideline.

The last time Sarkisian coached a game in that stadium will have been nearly two years before, toward the end of 2008, as the final assistant coach (loved by the fans) holding on from the Pete Carroll golden years.

If Carroll had walked out of Troy one year earlier, it is almost certain that Sarkisian would have gotten the nod as the legendary coach's replacement.

Instead, the Trojans are left with the knowledge that both men fled north to the state of Washington. I personally have horrible images in my head of them sharing a condo together, laughing while sipping their Starbucks grande iced-Chai tea lattes, trying on Nike's together at Shoe Carnival, and then crying in each other's arms while listening to Nirvana's Heart-Shaped Box in the rain.

Fine, maybe that was a little bit overdone, but the point is it still smells a little bit like betrayal.

I mean, the Washington Huskies and the Seattle Seahawks? Over USC? They chose that over Hollywood?

Well, fine.  Have it your way, Sarkisian, because we got our head coach; we got a guy who actually wanted to come back to USC. He fought through riots to get back to USC .

Defending the honor of Troy will be none other than the Wunderkind, Lane Kiffin.  And poor Sarkisian will be matching his offensive smarts with Monte Kiffin's defensive genius.

These two men meeting up again, facing off against each other as head coaches (in the Coliseum of all places!) makes the USC-Washington game electric to say the least.

After all, the two did work under Carroll during a five-year span in which the Trojans won two national championships.

While that alone is enough to get some people really excited, there is another dimension to the game:

How about the Matt Barkley/Jake Locker matchup? It could have happened last year, but for anyone not remembering, Barkley was injured and replaced by the woeful Aaron Corp.

Now it will be expected that these two stellar quarterbacks with possible brilliant professional careers ahead of them can only meet once in college.  How good are these guys?

Most people had Jake Locker pegged at No. 1 in the NFL draft this year if he came out. That would be No. 1 ahead of Sam Bradford.

He has to be an early favorite for a top-three overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft.

Matt Barkley, on the other hand, is a super-early favorite for a top-three overall pick in either the 2012 or 2013 NFL draft.

It is a real shame that they will only have one meeting in college.

These factors make the USC-Washington game the "can't miss" revenge match up of the season. Arizona makes a good runner-up, though.

With so much to look forward to, who can handle the wait until fall?


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