The University of Southern California Trojans are 4-1 after losing 32-31 to the University of Washington Huskies last Saturday.
Most USC fans were surprised and disappointed at the loss caused by poor defense and lack of execution when it counted on offense.
The September 30 article, USC Football: 10 Things the Trojans Must Fix to Beat the Washington Huskies, identified the key things that USC needed to beat the Huskies.
But, USC failed miserably at the top two priorities: “Stop Jake Locker passing and running” and “Achieve a turnover margin of at least two.”
The Stanford Cardinal (No. 16*) are also 4-1 after losing 52-31 to the Oregon Ducks (No. 3*). Stanford had dominated its opponents until the third quarter of the Oregon game.
Stanford is currently favored by 10 points. Many believe that is understated.
USC has played a weaker schedule than Stanford, and is not close statistically especially if the Oregon game is not considered.
Per Game Averages
Defense Passing Yards Allowed
Defense Rushing Yards Allowed
Penalties - Yards
41 - 409
32 - 279
Fumbles – Lost
8 - 5
6 - 4
Field Goal Attempts - Made
2 - 6
9 - 9
The USC pass defense is 117th out of 120 teams. The linebackers and secondary have not been effective against the pass.
Poor tackling has also affected both the passing and rushing defense.
USC athletes don’t seem to understand that bumping and pushing are not tackling, which is something most high school football players are taught.
This has been a problem at USC for several years.
The coaches are not pleased either so why does it continue?
Stanford is a superior team and will be up for USC on their turf, so how can the Trojans win?
USC has a very good offense when penalties, fumbles, and interceptions are not stopping them. The Trojans have to control the time of possession and prevent the Stanford offense from taking the field as much as possible.
A positive turnover margin, low penalties, and good special teams play with some long returns are also needed to beat Stanford.
Of course, Stanford will be trying to do the same thing.
Remember, this is college football so anything can happen.
But, What Is the Test for the USC Fans?
USC needs to have four victories of its final eight games to get an 8-5 record.
This includes No. 16* Stanford on Saturday, Cal on October 16, No. 3* Oregon on October 30, Arizona State on November 6, No. 9* Arizona on November 13, former No. 23 Oregon State on November 20, Notre Dame on November 27, and UCLA (who beat ranked Houston and Texas) on December 4.
Most USC fans expected at least 10 wins this year. It will be difficult to win eight.
Things may not get better over the next few years as USC endures the NCAA sanctions.
The test is whether USC fans will continue to support the team the same way as during the Pete Carroll years.
Losses are tough for players, coaches, and fans. But, the athletes and coaches will continue to do their best.
Real USC fans will do the same to support the team.
Those who play the “blame game,” criticize the coaches and athletes, and stop attending games (or watching them on TV) are not real fans.
USC won its first national football championship in 1928 and there have been many good and bad years since that time.
Long-time USC fans know that you can’t stay at the top forever, so they continue to support the team regardless of the win-loss record. They FIGHT ON!
The USC football team needs its fans now more than ever. This team (and future ones) did nothing to deserve the NCAA sanctions.
So, while no one is happy when USC loses, let’s always support the team and the Trojans will fight their way back to the top before you know it.
Are you a "fair weather" USC fan, or a real Trojan?
*AP Week 6 Poll