Matt Cassel and Kaluka Maiava Are Perfect Examples Of Where USC Is

Erin McLaughlinSenior Analyst IIJune 25, 2009

FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 20: Matt Cassel #16 of the New England Patriots watches the defense against the Denver Broncos at Gillette Stadium on October 20, 2008 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.The Patriots won 41-7. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

USC fans have told me lately that I don't understand just how great the talent is. This is due primarily to the fact that I have written a couple of articles suggesting that USC may take a small step back this year and that Notre Dame has a chance to beat them. That is due to the fact that Notre Dame has a really good team this year and USC has lost a lot of players.

How that means that I don't respect what USC has is beyond me. I understand that they are deep at every position and they have been down that road before. Yet they continue to be strong.

That is true to a degree, but don't tell me that they were just as good with John David Booty and company as they were with Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush, and Lendale White. They did take a tiny step back but were right back the year after. Therefore, predicting that they fall a little is no sign of disrespect to what they have.

I know what they have and it pains me to admit it. I remember watching a Patriots preseason game a few years ago.

In the second half, a rookie by the name of Matt Cassel came in and just lit it up. I had never heard of him and was wondering where he came from. Then I saw USC and my jaw hit the floor.

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He never even played at USC and here he was tearing it up in the Patriots preseason. Then out of nowhere last year, he had the season of his life. That was just a great story and shows exactly what USC has.

Now another player I look at is Kaluka Maiava. I knew this kid when he was in high school and watched him play.

He originally had verbally committed to UCLA before he later changed it to USC. He could have started all four years at UCLA or any other Pac-10 school.

Four years later, he was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in spite only starting his senior year. I think he will be a steal the same way Cassel was.

Therefore, I am well aware of the program USC has. Although I am an Irish fan, I do respect what they have done. 

So yes, I still think they may slip slightly this year, but I know what they have and I know they will be back.  

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