This is what Mark Sanchez has wanted all along. He's patiently waited his turn to continue the prestigious lineage that is the USC quarterback. Now, three years in the making, it's his chance to take center stage and lead the Trojans where those before him often did.
With a stable of backs that could rival some NFL squads in terms of talent, and a receiving corps that seems to be taking a turn towards dominance, how successful the Trojans become relies squarely on the right shoulder of Mr. Sanchez.
Beginning with the Arizona game on Saturday, Sanchez will have to show the moxie many believe he's possessed all along. Carson Palmer had it, Matt Leinart had it, John David Booty wanted it, but Sanchez is now in the position to lead this team to a title they haven't had since the last time the BCS Championship was in Miami.
Arizona will blitz Sanchez, and try to take aim at that knee that seems to have a bulls-eye around it each time he steps on the field. With a pressuring defense ranked in the top 30 in nearly every defensive category, Arizona can create the kind of havoc to put some knots in the young man's stomach.
Sanchez will have to stay poised and take some hits in the pocket while his receivers get open against a tough Wildcat secondary. If Sanchez can stay calm on the road and prove he has the "it" factor this week, then USC could very well steamroll the rest of the way.
No one seems to know what will happen from week to week anymore and that type of unpredictability plays right into the hands of this USC team. With the easiest road the rest of the way, I, for one, would be surprised if the Trojans weren't sitting on South Beach that first week in January.
If that happens, it'll be Sanchez who leads them there and Sanchez who'll be holding that crystal ball next to Pete Carroll on Jan. 8. In this topsy-turvy season we've already seen, maybe a crystal ball is exactly what we need.
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