Monday, September 17, 2012

Week 3: USC vs. Stanford Recap

What I thought Would Happen?

You think Matt Barkley is excited for this game? The man might walk away from the University of Southern California as its most revered player ever, yet he has never beaten the Cardinal. When did that become an acceptable statement? Matt Barkley gave up a spot in the first round of the NFL Draft in order to complete “unfinished business.” You can bet the house that this was on his checklist of goals. Jim Harbaugh and David Shaw have built a nice program in a short time, but this is USC. If they truly are the preseason number 1 team, this is a game they must win.

What did Happen?

I guess USC should not have been the preseason number 1 team. Now is not a time to make excuses Trojan nation. The truth often hurts, but this team isn’t good enough. USC is still really good football team, maybe even really really good. It’s just not great. Hindsight provides the prism to make these statements, but this USC team could not beat the ultimate measuring stick, Alabama. It’s not the talent. Many of these current Trojans will be collecting a paycheck from the league in the next few seasons. It just does not have the single most crucial element in college football today. What has allowed Alabama to bludgeon teams on both sides of the ball? What has happened to the Wisconsin Badgers from last year to this year? Why is LSU the consensus second best team in the country? There is one common answer here. LINE PLAY.

The line play against Stanford, especially that shocking final drive just was not good enough. Stanford ran thru, around and past USC defenders all game long to the tune of 200 yards rushing. On a day when Josh Nunes was not very good, USC had to force the Stanford rushing attack to beat them and it did.

The Good:

-Absolutely nothing positive from this game

The Bad:

-The Line Play
            It stunk both offensively and defensively. Lane Kiffin is building something special again in Los Angeles, but there will need to be some improvement on the fronts of both sides of the ball. Alabama has four offensive linemen who will play on Sundays. If USC’s product on the field is to match up with the Crimson Tide’s, similar talent will need to be fielded. After the game, Kiffin stated that Matt Barkley was “physically beat up.” That statement should never be uttered about the most important player in the program.

-What Happened to Matt Barkley? Lane Kiffin said after the game that Barkley’s decision making was poor. He went so far as to say that his two interceptions were the two worst throws of the Barkley-Kiffin honeymoon.

-Khaled Holmes’ Injury ultimately was the dagger. The all Pac-12 senior center was the veteran leader of the offensive line. Without their heart and soul, USC was physically beaten by the Stanford defensive front

Looking Ahead:

Now that USC has been hit in the chin, it’s time to fully wake up. I feel bad for opponents the Trojans face before their November 3rd encounter with Oregon. Cal, Utah, Washington, Colorado and Arizona do not stand a chance. It is unlikely, but if USC wins the rest of their games and is lucky enough to get a rematch with Stanford in the conference championship game, there is still an outside shot at playing in the Discover National Championship Game. 

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