2009-10 USC Football Predictions
by Josh Nagel - 8/15/2009
No. 4 USC Trojans
2008 Record: 12-1.
2008 Against the Spread: 7-6.
2009 Odds to win BCS Championship: 7/1.
Key games: at Ohio State Sept. 12; at California Oct. 3; vs. UCLA Nov. 28
Overview: During coach Pete Carroll's dynasty-building run at USC, the most frequent question that has faced the program is whether it would need a year to rebuild after another memorable season saw a wave of top prospects head for the glory and riches of the NFL.
The answer, of course, always has been "no." Whether it was Matt Leinart stepping in for Carson Palmer, or Mark Sanchez taking over for John David Booty, the Trojans have never had the problem of waiting around while the new guys get up to speed. They have been there the whole time, just biding their time on the sidelines while waiting for their chance to prove themselves on the field.
So while Sanchez left early to becoming a surprising Top 10 pick against Carroll's wishes, and most of the nation's top-ranked defense also is preparing to play on Sundays, there is little doubt as to whether USC will be able to fill their voids with top-notch players.
Highly-touted freshman Matt Barkley appears headed to the signal-caller job for the time being, since projected starter Aaron Corp went down with an injury.
The only real question for the Trojans has been whether they can survive a Pac-10 schedule without suffering a blemish on their record that keeps them out of the BCS title game. Always among the unanimous pre-season college football picks to win the BCS title game, the Trojans have been beset by unlikely opponents.
Two years ago, lightly regarded Stanford, a 41-point underdog, stunned the Trojans and sent them to the Rose Bowl instead of the BCS title game. Oregon State did the deed last year, beating a 27-point spread to take down USC in a nationally televised game that again derailed the Trojans' title hopes. Although most teams are capable of surviving a loss on their ledger, the Pac-10 deservedly does not receive the respect that teams from stronger conferences, such as the SEC and Big 12, enjoy.
Thus, there is little room for a slip-up, though the Trojans have seemed to have a knack for finding trouble in unlikely places. This season, the most likely stumbling blocks appear to loom Oct. 3 at California and Oct. 31 at Oregon.
If the Trojans can take care of business in the Pac-10 and a tough road game against Ohio State, they could be somewhere other than Pasadena to start the new year.
2009-10 USC Football Predictions: 11-2, BCS Bowl game appearance.
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