SI.com's Stewart Mandel has some interesting thoughts on USC being being vulnerable in his mailbag this week.
The premise? USC is vulnerable...
Last year, USC needed help from Oregon in the final week of the season to reach the Rose Bowl and, after losing so much talent to the NFL, seems to be ever-so-slightly down from its lofty standards. Meanwhile, Oregon, Cal and Oregon State all look improved from last season. So is this finally the year USC's streak of Pac-10 titles comes to an end?
-- Travis Pederson, Redmond, Ore.
It's highly unlikely the Trojans will be as dominant as last year, when they boasted a top five NFL quarterback (Mark Sanchez) and a world-class defense. Nevertheless, I still have more faith in a USC team featuring an untested QB and eight new defensive starters than in any of the teams you mentioned.
You know we hear this just about every season.
USC has had a ton of players drafted over the past three years yet they continue to win the Pac-10. Yes they needed a little help last season but that has more to do with the rest of the Pac-10 finally getting better than it did USC getting worse.There are some questions for USC this season but this is the last program I would worry about in terms of being ready to answer the bell when the season opens on September 5th. The question is what is the rest of the conference going to do? Mike Riley at Oregon St. seems to be the only coach that gets more with less.
As we have seen over the past few weeks SC still continues to draw top talent. Jesse Scroggins and Dion Bailey just to name two. I found these comments about Scroggins to be very telling...
—Scroggins had said last season he'd like to go to USC if they offered him a scholarship. His desire to be a Trojan overcame the fact that he's likely have a guaranteed starting spot in the next two seasons at either of his other two top choices, Florida and Tennessee. USC on the other hand has a thick roster, including incoming freshman (and last year's top HS recruit) Matt Barkley, who just graduated from Mater Dei. Barkley is thought by many Trojan fans to be the future of the program, but Scroggins (who is one of the more fiery and competitive HS QBs in the area) certainly isn't one to shy from a challenge.
Yeap...that's the typical type of player that USC gets...No fear! Scroggins took the more challenging path. That is the difference at USC!
Other teams are getting their fair share of talent as well, like ucla, but lets not get carried away, it is what you do with the talent you have not how much you have. It is hillarious to read some of the posts on the message boards and on BN about ucla getting a commit from DB Tony Jefferson. They act like he is the final piece of the puzzle. Jefferson is a great player but ucla was surprised that he committed because he was considered a strong USC lean if not a silent commit but the rumor is his perfomance at USC's Rising Stars camp left a lot to be desired.
The fact is USC just earned a commitment from Bailey and they are in a great position to land Dietrich Riley both of whom are better than Jefferson. Couple that with USC's depth at Safety and you could see why this happened.He saw the writing on the wall and went after the next best thing for him.
Good for him!
Make no mistake this is a good pick up for the gutties, but like I said lets not get carried away. We understand that Slick Rick is a better recuiter than Dorrell...
Heck, I could recruit better than Dorrell. The only place ucla could go was up so I am not surprised that Slick Rick is getting better talent. He is simply a better salesman than Dorrell ever could be.
I am more interested in what Slick Rick does with the talent, that's what I want to see...getting the talent is the easy part.
Slick Rick has done an average job with his recruits in the past...
Once again USC gets the players they want while ucla gets some nice players that USC was at one time interested in. Another interesting thing with this was how fast Jefferson made his decison...it is early yet and I detect a hint of anger in his actions. It would appear that he he made this decision out emotion and not a well mesured thought process. He isn't going to take any official visits.
That brings me to another thing I saw this week...
There seems to be an opinion floating around out there that there is some USC fatigue, especially in LA. You can read it over on FanBlogs (I think Kevin Donahue is a clown so I won't link to him). Sounds like someone needs to get out more...I have heard more about Florida and Tebow the past two years than I have about USC. Simply stated...USC football is the only game in town, ucla will get better but they will never attain the level of success that SC has the past 5 years. Of course the clowns acroos town will try to make hay out of it but as I have said before...when USC was down in the 80's and 90's ucla NEVER made the most out of it. They had one chance in 98' but they couldn't make it happen.
Right. Yeah, whatever...there is so much fatigue in regards to USC that USC continues to pick up verbals from Top Talent
They can piss and moan and wish and hope all they want but until they actually unseat USC they are just the other team in LA...