By Lina S., Rock Mayock’s Pac-12 Research Assistant, 11:00 p.m. | Hey guys, it’s Lina! I’m still cleaning up Mayock’s mess of a 2012 Pac-12 Preview. He half assed it all the way through his preview of Stanford but now it’s time to get serious. Yesterday I previewed UCLA and today I’m doing USC. Here is what you need to know before Saturday’s game against Hawaii.
THE REASONS WHY USC IS GOOD:
1. USC is the best team in the Pac-12 because they have so many ballers on offense. Jaboner Jackson always talks about drafting studs for your Fantasy Football team and this team is loaded with them. Cute OC boy Matt Barkley along with Robert Woods, Marquis Lee, Curtis McNeal, Silas Redd, George Farmer and Xavier Grimble are all going to the NFL. The problem for opposing teams is going to be figuring out what to focus on, the run or the pass game. If you focus on the run game and bring an extra Linebacker or Safety into the box then you’re leaving Woods, Lee, Farmer or Grimble open. If you focus on the pass game and rush three to drop an extra DB into coverage then McNeal and Redd are going to run wild. These guys are going to score a ton of points. I don’t know a lot about gambling but I would take the Over on any game SC is playing.
2. USC is going to be good because of their offensive line. Even though the offensive skill position players get all of the hype the O-Line is where the rubber meets the asphalt. They have 4 starters coming back from last year’s line that gave up only 7 or 8 sacks all season. If you add 1,000 yard rushers Silas Redd and Curtis McNeal these guys are going to f’ing dominate.
3. USC is going to be good because the defense is finally working. Monte Kiffin’s Tampa 2 defense didn’t really work for his 1.5 seasons at USC. College kids are too undisciplined and too unfocused to run a defense that complicated. The most important thing that Kiffin did last year was simplify the defense and then move Dion Bailey to the outside and Lamar Dawson in the middle. Now the Trojans have enough speed to cover the field and cut off angles for those quick small backs like De’Anthony Thomas.
4. USC is going to have a great season because they have an easy schedule. All I know is that an out of conference schedule that includes Hawaii, Syracuse and Notre Dame isn’t that tough. They have their big conference games against Oregon and Cal at the Coliseum but they are on the road against Utah and Washington. I think they could be in trouble for that Utah game because Kyle Whittingham is a hell of a good coach and the Trojans don’t have a good track record for Thursday night road games.
5. The number one reason why USC will have a great season is that they have the most talent. Lane Kiffin has done a great job at recruiting players with NFL level that also fit his system. Back to back Top-10 recruiting classes and the transfer of Silas Redd prove that Kiffin has restocked the talent shelves those a-holes at the NCAA tried to pick clean.
THE REASONS WHY USC WON’T HAVE A GOOD SEASON:
1. USC won’t have a good season because they’re already over rated as a pre-season #1. Pre-season #1 is overrated because people start to believe the hype before they play a singe game, especially college kids. Almost nobody goes wire to wire number, it’s too hard. Pete Carroll did it in 2004 but he had super hot Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush, LenDale White, Steve Smith, Dwayne Jarrett, Lofa Tatupu, the Ting Twins and a whole bunch of other guys who are now in the NFL. Hopefully Kiffin can keep his players focused.
2. USC won’t have a good season because they are thin at almost every position. Scholarship reductions haven’t limited the quality of talent at USC, it has limited the quantity of talent. What happens if Barkley breaks a leg or the O-Line loses Khaled Holmes? The team is screwed. This is double true on the defense. DE Devon Kennard blew out a pec muscle in Fall practice but he hopes to be back mid season. I think that’s too soon but I should probably ask Dr. Riaz. The team needs to stay healthy to win a championship.
3. USC won’t have a good season because they always find a way to lose a game they shouldn’t. I looked at the schedule and there are a couple of trap games to watch out for. I already mentioned Utah but I would watch out for Washington too. Coach Sarkisian is a good coach and Keith Price is a great QB. Sarkisian has Coach Kiffin’s number and this could be a super high scoring game. Careful guys!
4. I guess that’s all of the reasons I can think of why USC won’t have a good year.
USC is pre-season #1 for a reason. They have tons of talent, both young and experienced, that are getting their chance to play in a bowl game. Lane Kiffin is a great coach and Ed Orgeron and Kennedy Pola are great assistants. I think the Trojans won’t let all of the early buzz go to their head and Kiffin’s staff will have them prepared all season. I still think they’re going to stumble at least once this year, probably on the Thursday night game at Utah, but they’ll going to win the Pac-12 South and probably the Pac-12 Championship Game.
Season Prediction: 11-1, First in the Pac-12 South
Lina S. is Rock Mayock’s Pac-12 Research Assistant. She loves Newports, 1990’s grunge music, and the 49ers. In between smoke breaks and Nirvana acoustical jam sessions she breaks down Pac-12 teams like it’s nobody’s business. The only thing meaner than her gridiron analysis is her right hook, so don’t try anything funny. You can reach Lina by e-mailing her at email@example.com.
Photo: Art Streiber/Men’s Journal