August 20, 2013 by Ell and Mike Sports
University of Southern California
Head Coach: Lane Kiffin
2012 Record: 7-6
Key Players (Offense): WR Marqise Lee(JR), RB Silas Redd, TE Xavier Grimble
Entering the season as #1 last year, many had the Trojans as the favorites to win it all last year. Reason?? Well, you had what many believed was the top returning QB in Matt Barkley, a potent receiving core with Marqise Lee and Robert Woods, and a solid defense with some secondary issues led by Monte Kiffin. Barkley would have a good year as far as TDs go, throwing 36 TDs, but he also threw a lot of INTs (15). The Trojans were having a solid season even after losing a close one to Stanford early in the season, but they would go on to lose four of their last five regular season games. Not to mention losing a horrible game to Georgia Tech in the Sun Bowl. Heading into this season, the Trojans are far from #1, but still return a lot of starters (16) and a lot of incoming freshman talent. The likes of freshman RB Justin Davis and RB Ty Issac should provide the Trojans with a lot of young playmakers. In order for the offense to really thrive, the running game will have to be what it was in the past with Reggie Bush and Lendale White. The Trojans have always had a balanced attack, but the Trojans didn’t even have a running back that ran for 1,000 yards. Look for former Penn State RB Silas Redd to eclipse that mark this year. Redd did have a solid year averaging more than 5 yards per carry. With increased touches, the chains should be moving quite often. However, the biggest question will be who will be the QB this season and how will they perform. Last year, sophomore Max Wittek struggled when he was given a chance to start. Many like the sophomore Cody Kessler, but he has very limited experience. Also, there is incoming freshman Max Browne; the #1 QB in last year’s recruiting class. No matter who wins the job, they will have plenty of talent around them to succeed. On a sidenote, the Trojans also return one of the best offensive lines in the nation.
Key Players (Defense): SS Dion Bailey(JR), DE Leonard Williams(SO), LB Morgan Breslin(SR)
This will be the first year probably since the Pete Carroll years that Trojans will have a good defense to work with. They return 7 defensive starters including the teams sack leader in LB Morgan Breslin who was a junior college transfer last year racking up a total of 13 sacks. With OLB Devon Kennard returning from an injury he suffered that put him out all of last season, SS Dion Bailey returns to his natural position at SS. DE Leonard Williams also had a good freshman campaign totaling 8 sacks. With new defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast, look for a new look Trojan defense that is more aggressive. The secondary which has plagued the Trojans the past few years should be much improved with the top safety recruit in the country coming in, Su’a Cravens. Fans should be excited about the defense that should be able to provide stops against Pac 12 juggernauts Stanford and Oregon.
10-2 (1st in the North Division)
Nobody is picking USC to win the Pac 12, but lets talk about this. First their schedule sets up perfect, as they do not play Oregon and get both Stanford and UCLA at home. That’s BIG, but they do have to go to South Bend to play Notre Dame and have to go to Arizona State. I believe they lose one of those road games and possibly lose to Stanford at home, but besides that their schedule sets up beautiful. This team will go as far as the QB takes them and Coach Kiffin is excellent at grooming QBs. I believe whoever he chooses to start, he places them in the position to succeed and the Trojans turn some heads to finish the season in the top 10. Fight on Troy!!!