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Not living up to expectations

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There are some interesting numbers to look at in regards to this weekend's upcoming game against Washington State.

USC already sits at No. 1 in at least one national category: scoring defense.

The Trojans, coming off their 28-0 victory over Arizona State, are giving up only 9.4 points per game, a figure that could very well drop after Saturday's game at Washington State.

The struggling Cougars rank 116th in scoring offense among the 119 Bowl Subdivision teams, averaging 15.9 points a game, and will be without quarterback Marshall Lobbestael, who will miss the rest of the season after sustaining torn knee ligaments in Saturday's 66-13 loss to Oregon State.

Washington State is 114th in total offense (274.4 yards a game), 111th in rushing offense (97.6 yards a game).

Great!

Just what we need, another heavy underdog for this team to take lightly!

Here is another number...Washington State is also a 41-point underdog. Now where have we seen that number before.

Let me get this out of the way and be the first to say that SC will not cover the spread. USC's offense has scored just 21 points in 2 out of 3 conference games they have played this season. There is no need to rehash the the Oregon State game but this game against ASU really opened my eyes. How does a team with all this fire power and all this 4 and 5 star talent only score 21 points against a (barely) above average defense yet unload on a much better Ohio State defense?

I caught this interesting quote yesterday. (emphasis mine)

Offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian was asked if the coaches considered replacing Mark Sanchez with Mitch Mustain yesterday.

"He's our guy,'' Sarkisian said of Sanchez.

Pete Carroll said there was some discussion but it related to Sanchez's injured knee and whether there were any physical reasons to remove him. Both said Sanchez was fine physically but was hampered by missing two practices during the week.

Really?

I'm not buying it and I think its a weak excuse.

Sanchez missed two days last week and played terrible yet he missed 2+ weeks in training camp leading up to the season opener and he lit UVA up. What gives?

I'm not looking to be contrarian but regardless of how great the defense played the score should have been 42-0 at a minmum with how bad ASU is right now and Sanchez missing two days of practice last week as the reason just doesn't cut it with me...not that what I think really matters to the coaching staff.

Everyone on the message boards is giddy that SC is "back" in the the BCS title chase but its a false sense of security. Does anyone think If SC had to face Texas, Alabama, Florida or even Penn State that SC would win handily let alone at all?

Based on this past weekends performance I am not so sure. And I am not the only one, I saw over on HP's site and he hit the nail on the head...

–If USC plays a team with an offensive pulse, it loses that game. The Trojan offense, with its five-stars galore, has scored just 21 points in 2 of its first 3 Pac-10 games.

It should have been a blowout...period!

The LAT's Chris Dufresne notes that SC got a gift this weekend...

Hard-to-find regional telecasts and time-zone differences have, for years, left Pacific 10 Conference schools feeling Left Coast isolated and ignored.

Boy, did that pay off Sunday for USC.

[...] USC played four quarters of ragged football, committing 10 penalties and turning the ball over on four straight third-quarter possessions in a 28-0 win over Arizona State.

Yet, the Trojans were rewarded Sunday too.

USC moved up five spots, to No. 4, in the USA Today coaches' poll; three spots, to No. 5, in the Harris Interactive Poll, and two spots, to No. 6, in the Associated Press media index.

Maybe, maybe not.

I moved SC up in my BlogPoll if no other reason than the Defense played an outstanding game. But I understand why it looks so odd with an offense like ours that sputtered after the first drive. Is anyone else worried that the defense might be a little pooped out this Saturday? I mean they left it all on the field as they pitched a shut-out against ASU.

It was a matter of pride not to let ASU score.

Look, nobody wants this team to go to the BCS title game more than I do, but there is no way that is going to happen as long as SC just gets by. Too many other team are playingmuch better ballanced football right now and if SC did go is anyone ready to put their next paycheck on the line that SC would win that game?

I said a couple of weeks ago that SC needs to adopt a take-no-prisoners approach and just unload on these teams. SC clearly benefitted from coaches and some writers not watching SC's "win" over ASU a little more closely but as the season moves on each game is going to get a little more scrutinty and ugly wins like this will not earn us style points as we go for the big prize.

How seriously will the coaches and players take this weeks game in Pullman? You're guess is as good as mine and it's a shame that I even have ask that question but losses to teams that SC had no business losing to in 2006, 2007 and in 2008 makes a lot of people sit back and wonder why this has become a pattern.

Lets hope thay take this game seriously...