It has been a while since I've been around and I had forgotten how nervous nellies Trojan fans can be.
Reading The Peristyle and CC and other blogs following the Washington game, it was a little depressing the lack of insight a lot of fans have; the alarmist reaction.
Straight to the points: That Washington game was dominated by USC despite the score. I think this USC team looks tremendously better than last year's team.
Every game after the Arkansas game last year was troublesome for me. Even though I've criticized other fans for being nervous wrecks, last year I was the same. Like everyone I saw those losses to Oregon State and UCLA coming from a mile away.
Four weeks into this season can anyone who actually pays attention truly say they are getting the same vibe out of this USC team?
USC has a tough schedule and they may not make it through unscathed, but this team to this point seems strong. This is not last year.
Our offense has demonstrated more of a big play threat, if only on the ground. And, perhaps more improtantly, our defense is swarming. Maybe not that '05 team but we gave up a mere 190 yards to the Huskies. 190 total yards. The same Huskies who put up 340+ yards against the #2 defense in the nation in Ohio State.
We've got some inflated stats from garbage time (we all know the Nebraska game was really a 42-17 victory) but subjectively our defense looks fast and mean. I couldn't say that last year.
Take That Jake Locker
Penalties (some of them ridiculous), dropped passes for interceptions and blocked punts. Do you really think those are the things to keep us out of New Orleans in January? I do not for a couple reasons.
First, it looks like the Washington game was an anomaly. It isn't like we've seen a ton of turnovers and penalties in previous games; even facing the sea of red down in Lincoln.
Second, these are the easy things to correct. This isn't like the offense isn't clicking or something.
USC has some unique problems, it has a tough schedule in front of it, and apparently our conditioning puts our boys at increased risk of injury judging by the past two seasons. That said, considering how topsy turvy the CFB world has been this season, I still believe that the Trojans will make it to the Superdome with either none or a single loss.
This isn't last season. USC is still very much in complete control...so calm down.