Today's game against Washington obviously has some very intriguing storylines.
There is the student against the teacher angle, the USC QB Speculation, and of course the let down factor after last weeks emotional win against Ohio St.
Lets look at the possibility of an upset first.
USC has had some trouble with Pac-10 openers on the road. We saw saw it last year in Corvallis and we have seen it in other years too. I think this year is very different from last year. SC does not get an extra week off like they did last year after Ohio St...they went right into Washington prep. We have seen a number of Pundits call for the UW upset but I think it is clear that are going stricktly off of USC's previous performances. SC has always started off slow in their games and the added pressure of the Pac-10 opener on the road puts a little more in the mix.
Of course anything is possible, UW is better than last year...but how much better? UW has some serious issues on defense. Jake Locker is better QB that Terrelle Pryor but the UW O line is not better than tOSU's and SC got some penetration in Columbus. So while our colleagues at UW Dawg Pound seem to think that UW's receivers are better because Locker is throwing them the ball if Locker does not have the time he is used to having than it could be a difficult day for Locker. Sure, he can make some plays on his own but SC can work that too...we saw that in Columbus.
The let down factor is a is serious concern even though Pete Carroll has been aware of it in the past but like I said above, this is a different situation. USC does not want to lose to Sarkisian and Holt. They don't have an extra week to read their press clippings over the Ohio St. game...not that SC had a stellar game to brag about. They know that both Sarkisian and Holt know their tendencies and vice versa so I think it is safe to assume that they are focused.
Then there is the QB controversy...
It looks like Corp will start but I doubt anyone will deny that Carroll is a Barkley guy. If I have said it once I have said it a million times...who cares who starts I just want to win. Whomever gives SC the best chance to win is all I want. Corp brings some mobility and a little more experience in the USC system. He is also less apt to make the bad play but this is his first start so he may have some butterfly's going into this afternoon.
I see three things that needs to do to win this game and we have discussed them before...
1) the O Line needs to protect the QB...Obvious as to why here, Corp will need some time to get his sea legs in his first start.
2) Establish the pass to set up the run. The UW Secondary is suspect and regardless of PC said about not worrying about bulletin board material don't be surprised if Jeremy Bates looks to exploit that weakness early and often. If they can't defend the pass they will drop the LB's back into coverage and that should allow The Stable to eat up some yards on the ground.
3) The defense needs to contain AND pressure Locker. They cannot let him make plays with his feet. We know he can throw and this week the USC secondary is a little thin with Brian Baucham out and Taylor Mays questionable/probable but still not 100%. The defense needs to keep an eye on Chris Polk as well. He has some serious talent and he some motivation (at least in his eyes) so they need to be mindful of that.
I do not see SC covering an 18 1/2 point spread, though I think they will win. I think that with the factors I mentioned above; Corp's first start, SC's typical slow start on the road in a conference opener and the pressure of playing Sarkisian in Husky Stadium That SC has their work cut out for them. I pretty much throw the tOSU game out for a number of reasons. I think this game will give us a better read on this years team and how they will perform going forward.
Leave your questions, comments and rants here. I will be on thread, DC Trojan is a game time decision though he will probably make it later in the game.