USC Football: Pac-10 Crown Will Elude USC Trojans for Second Straight Season

Jordan LoaCorrespondent ISeptember 17, 2010

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 11:  Quarterback Matt Barkley #7 of the USC Trojans calls signals against the Virginia Cavaliers at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on September 11, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. USC won 17-14.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

We're two, almost three, weeks into the college football season, and I'm excited. I love college football.

I'm super-duper excited that after the menagerie of college football games on Saturday, there will be more of the same come Sunday, when the NFL's best teams (Patriots? Saints? Colts?) and the NFL's worst (Raiders for sure, Lions? Browns?) teams square off against each other.

The only thing I'm not looking forward to is watching USC play.


I didn't mean that! I'm sorry!

What I meant to say was that I'm not excited about watch the USC Trojans struggle, much like they have been for their first two games.

I know, I know, I'm not exemplifying the attitude of a Featured Columnist, but let's be realistic here.

Did USC get the 'w' against Hawaii and Virginia? Yes, and that's awesome.

Did USC struggle immensely against the said teams? Yes, and that's depressing.

Even more depressing is the steady fall the Men of Troy have taken in the AP Poll since the season started.

USC was ranked No. 14 in the preseason poll, which isn't bad considering they lost that shut-'em-down defense from last season. Following their explosive offensive shootout with Hawaii, they fell back (or up, depending on how you look at it) to the No. 16 spot. And most recently, the Trojans slipped to the No. 18 spot after immense struggles with an over-achieving Virgina team.

USC's rankings are falling faster than Obama's approval ratings.

If USC is having this much trouble with mediocre teams, what kind of trouble are they going to have when they start conference play?

USC's first conference game is against Washington St., which shouldn't really be a challenge. But after that, they play a much improved Washington team led by Jake Locker, Stanford, California, Oregon, Arizona St., Arizona, Oregon St., and wrap up conference play and the season with a visit to cross-town rival UCLA.

I can already tell you which of the teams I just mentioned are going to be trouble: All of them. Remember, USC lost horribly to Oregon and Stanford, and they fell short to Arizona and Washington.

Given the recent performance of the defense over the past couple of weeks, I can with a certain amount of confidence that USC will once again be towards the bottom of the Pac-10 conference.

Believe me, I wish I was wrong, but unfortunately, I don't think I am.

Now I know that there will be comments to my logic saying, "Dude, relax. It's only the third game of the season; USC will be alright."

And to counter that comment, I'm gonna respond by agreeing that USC will be alright, but not before it's too late. I just don't see the Trojans' defense getting their act together in time to be contenders for the Pac-10 crown this season.

I mean, look at last week's game against Virginia. We knew the defense wasn't going to be all that great, but the offense too? Really?

Sophomore QB Matt Barkley did a decent job, throwing for 202 yards and two touchdowns, but the offense only mustered 17 points.

If you're Virginia, you should be kicking yourself for not pulling this one out.

Hey, who knows, perhaps Virginia's defense was prepared for the USC run/passing attack, and maybe they improved a lot during the off-season. Or maybe USC just wasn't firing on all cylinders like they were against Hawaii, because the Cavaliers' defense was so stout.

Whatever it is, it's gotta be fixed now before the Trojans face any high-caliber teams down the stretch.

Hopefully I'm wrong about everything I've just said, and USC wakes up and turns into the monster we know they can be.

If not, then the phrase "told ya so" shall suffice.