Now USC Needs To Lose To Notre Dame

Erin McLaughlinSenior Analyst IIJune 24, 2009

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 1:  Christian Tupou #44 of the USC Trojans and Fili Moala #75 look on against the Penn State Nittany Lions on January 1, 2009 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.  USC won 38-24.  (Photo by Jeff Golden/Getty Images)

This is a reply to my own article of a few days ago. 

In the article, I suggested USC take a step back this year. When I say that, I in no way, suggest that the program is in decline. 

I actually don't want that because it is in Notre Dame's best interests for USC to be good just like it is in USC's best interest for Notre Dame to be good.

My whole point was that last year, USC had the best college defense I have ever seen. Now a lot of it is gone. They not only lost all the great linebackers, but other key guys such as Fili Moala.

On top of it all, Quarterback Mark Sanchez left early as well.

That just seems like an awful lot to lose and not take a little hit.

I do not expect them to free fall because they definitely have talented players replacing them. USC doesn't rebuild, they reload.

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They reload as good as any program in the country.

However, this year they are reloading a lot. It really shouldn't be that shocking to think they lose a couple more games than normal this year. USC fans seem to think that these guys will come right in and they won't be hit at all.

That is why USC has to lose to Notre Dame. The fans have a sense of entitlement. I am not faulting them for that.

I probably would too if Notre Dame were where their program is.

You don't replace that many great players and not lose a beat. However, USC fans seem to think the idea doesn't apply to them.

The ironic thing is that Notre Dame fans are the ones who are called cocky and arrogant. I am not saying USC fans are cocky and arrogant, but I do see a sense of entitlement.

One argument I heard was that the guys replacing the ones who left have plenty of experience because USC uses a rotational system. They do and it has been effective. However, there is a major difference between getting in the game with rotations and being in the game in key situations. 

USC is not the only school that does this. Every major program does it to some degree. The point is that it is a major difference to play strictly in situations and then go to starting.

To replace as many players as USC lost will be tough. Then when you factor in that these were not good but great players, that makes it even tougher.

Another argument I heard was that Aaron Corp will be fine. His supporters believe any experience he got in practice against USC's stellar defense is worth more than game experience against Notre Dame.

I have a problem with this argument. Look at their last two really good quarterbacks in Matt Leinart and Mark Sanchez; they were both fine quarterbacks.

However, if I had a choice between either one of them and Brady Quinn, I would take Quinn any day of the week, and twice on gameday.

He was the best quarterback I have seen in my lifetime at Notre Dame. He was the best since Joe Montana.

I can already see it now. USC fans are yelling that he never beat USC. That is true, but football is a team game. If Leinart and Quinn switched sides, the result would have been the same.

So yes, he didn't win against USC, but he had the game of his life against them in 2005.  

I don't buy the argument that practice experience equals game experience. The reality is there are situations that can't be played out in practice.

Can he see what the defense is doing before they do it? I am sorry, but Quinn could do that better than any USC quarterback in recent years.

One game that I am anxious to watch is USC at Ohio State. There we will find out a lot about where this USC team is. If they go up to Columbus and win convincingly than I will take back this whole article.

But if they lose or even win ugly, that will excite the folks in South Bend and the whole Pac 10.

These teams already circle USC on the calendar. If they lose to the Buckeyes, they will now be seen as beatable. Everybody will be gunning for them even more than before.

Are these new players who are replacing the great ones ready for that? I know I have my doubts.

Sorry Clashmore I had to.