CFN has their Pac 10 review for 2006 and the USC at the top of their list.
Predicted record: 11-1 Conf. record: 8-1
Best Player: WR Dwayne Jarrett, Jr.
Offense - This isn't going to be anywhere near the 580-yard, 49 point-per-game juggernaut of last year losing Matt Leinart, LenDale White, Winston Justice, Dominique Byrd, Taitusi Lutui, and Reggie Bush, but there's hope for the explosion to continue, albeit to a lesser degree, thanks to the nation's best receiving corps, a good foundation on the offensive line with tackle Sam Baker and center Ryan Kalil, and more high school All-America prospects than one team should have. However, there's an outside chance the wheels could come flying off. Quarterback John David Booty is hardly a sure-thing to last the season with his gimpy back, and Mark Sanchez has more problems than battling Booty with a sexual assault charge temporarily kicking him off the team. The running back situation is full of question marks with injuries, youth, and ineligibility playing havoc with the corps. Even so, this will be one of the nation's five best attacks if everyone stays healthy.
Defense - What the D lacks in overall experience it makes up for in ridiculous talent and athleticism. The linebacking corps is one of the best in America with a third string that would form a killer starting trio for about 95 other teams. The secondary doesn't have any big names, but that will change quickly if some of the superstar freshmen play well right away and if there's good competition for the safety spots. End Lawrence Jackson and tackle Sedrick Ellis are great players to build around on a line that should have few problems getting into the backfield. The return of former defensive coordinator and former Idaho head coach Nick Holt adds even more punch.
This season will be a success if ... USC plays for the national title. Would just winning the Pac 10 and going to a BCS game be good enough at this point? It should be, but the bar is set ridiculously high after going 54-10 under Pete Carroll and losing two games in three years.
USC has a lot to prove this year with all the losses that they have taken on the offensive side of the ball. With the talent that they have amassed in the phenomenal recruiting that Pete Carroll has done over the past few years its hard to pick against them. But there are a lot new faces this season and team chemistry is important so it will be interesting to see how everyone gels.
For CFN's all Pac 10 Offense they have 3 Trojans listed on the First Team.
Offensive Player of the Year: WR Dwayne Jarrett, USC
This is assuming he's back after having problems with the NCAA. He can do it all with too much size for most college corners and too much athleticism to be nullified from a double team. He was the best wide receiver in America last year, but now he'll have to shine without Matt Leinart throwing him the ball.
QB Sam Keller, Sr. Arizona State
RB Yvenson Bernard, Jr. Oregon State
RB Marshawn Lynch, Jr. California
WR Jason Hill, Sr. Washington State
WR Dwayne Jarrett, Jr. USC
TE Zach Miller, Jr. Arizona State
OL Sam Baker, Sr. USC
OL Ryan Kalil, Sr. USC
OL Enoka Lucas, Sr. Oregon
OL Roy Schuening, Jr. Oregon State
OL Shannon Tevaga, Jr. UCLA
PK Alexis Serna, Jr. Oregon State
KR Terry Richardson, Sr. Arizona State
No surprises here.
On the Defense they have 4 Trojans listed.
Defensive Player of the Year: DT Brandon Mebane, California
He's a defensive end built into the 6-3, 306-pound body with tremendous quickness into the backfield. He was one of the league's top linemen last year even though he suffered through an ankle injury and constant double teaming.
DL Mkristo Bruce, Sr. Washington State
DL Sedrick Ellis, Jr. USC
DL Lawrence Jackson, Jr. USC
DL Brandon Mebane, Sr. California
LB Rey Maualuga, Soph USC
LB Keith Rivers, Jr. USC
LB Desmond Bishop, Sr. California
DB Antoine Cason, Jr. Arizona
DB Patrick Chung, Soph. Oregon
DB Daymeion Hughes, Sr. California
DB Sabby Piscitelli, Sr. Oregon State
P Sean Douglas, Sr. Washington
PR Terry Richardson, Sr. Arizona State
This will be the strength of the Trojans this year. The defense will have a little work to do in the secondary but up front and in the middle they are solid will make some big plays.
CFN's Unit Rankings has USC ranked in the following:
- Offense #1 overall
- Quarterbacks #2
- Running Backs #3
- Receivers #1
- Offensive Line #3
- Defense #1 Overall
- Defensive Line #1
- Linebackers #1
- Defensive Backs #2
- Special Teams #8