The USC Trojans are coming off of a disappointing 8-5 record in 2010 and are looking to bounce back and reclaim their elite status as one of the best teams in college football.
Partial responsibility for their poor play was a two year suspension that they received last season due to prior violations. Some incentive has been lost as they're not allowed to participate in the post season. Although this is true, look for the Trojans to come out strong this year and represent the university as best as they possibly can (with a chip on their shoulder).
Let's take a closer look at the newly developed PAC-12 and the University of Southern California football team for the 2011-2012 season.
One of the best quarterbacks in the country is junior quarterback Matt Barkley. If USC recovers from last season's disappointment and overlooks the suspension, Barkley has a chance to be a candidate for the Heisman Trophy.What better way to get redemption by succeeding this season and winning that coveted award (it's a real longshot but never say never)? In 2010, Barkley threw for 2791 yards, completing 62.6 % of his passes with 26 TD, 12 INT, and had a quarterback rating of 141.2. Matt Barkley isn't much of a runner, just a pure passer. Look for Barkley to prove a point this year and make a strong case for being considered amongst the Heisman hopefuls.
In the running game, lost from last year are Allen Bradford (794 yards, 5 TD) and C.J. Gable (253 yards, 1 TD). Returning this season is leading rusher senior Marc Tyler (913 yards, 9 TD) and sophomore Dillon Baxter (252 yards, 1 TD). Along with them , freshman D.J. Morgan will fill the void.The Trojans should have one of the better backfields in the nation as long as Tyler doesn't get hurt.
The Trojans took a hit at the WR position but leading receiver sophomore Robert Woods (792 yards, 6 TD) returns. Woods has the capability of breaking 1000 yards this season and will be the main target for Matt Barkley. Rhett Ellison (239 yards, 3 TD) will bring some senior leadership at the tight end position and senior Brandon Carswell (205 yards, 1 TD) also returns. Freshman George Farmer is supposed to be something special so keep your eye on what kind of dramatic effect that he'll have on the program. Barkley should be in good shape. He has his leading rusher and receiver returning while there's plenty of capable backups and freshman talent to go along with it. Along with that, he has his center and tackle retuning on the offensive line. USC averaged 31 points per game last season. The lost some key figures but shouldn't lose any production from this group of players. They main players have an extra year's experience under the belt and this will benefit them greatly.
This is a defense that was 63rd in the country allowing 26.7 points per game and the Trojans look to improve upon that. This is a team that was weak against the run last season, allowing 140 yards per game. Defensive lineman Jurrell Casey and his 67 tackles won't be returning this season. Big time defensive end Nick Perry (25 tackles) returns for his junior year. Tackles Armond Armstead (43 tackles) and DaJohn Harris (35 tackles) both return for their senior campaign.
Linebacker Devon Kennard (72 tackles) returns and will make a definite impact for the Trojans Defensive back T.J. McDonald who led the Trojans in tackles last season with 89 and had 3 INT will be returning.as a junior. Defensive back Nickell Robey will also be a defensive force. Robey had led the Trojans with 4 INT's and 48 tackles. Junior Jawanza Starling is also one of the returnees. He had 37 tackles last season. A lot of respectable players are returning this year but it will take a major effort for this defense to improve.
Sept.24 at Arizona State
Oct.13 at California
Oct.22 at Notre Dame
Nov.4 at Colorado
Nov.19 at Oregon
My Summary and Prediction
Not being allowed to participate in post season play is a real negative for the moral of the team. The schedule is a fairly easy one except for the few elite teams that they play. Oregon, Stanford, Notre Dame will most likely be losses. Washington and Utah are will be competitive.
Record - 9-3 ( this team will have something to play for (pride)
There are no college football odds available for USC to win the National Title because they're not bowl-eligible (In my opinion is not fair to the current players)