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Closing the book on Cal

Two things stood out from Thursday night's win.

Barkley and Woods having an off game and the injury situation.

I addressed the injuries yesterday. Barkley and Woods, however, are a whole other matter.

Everyone has an off game...even the best catching and receiving tandem in CFB. I was a little disappointed, but hey, it happens. I just don't want it to be a sign of things to come.

'SC will have their hands full next week against Notre Dame. The margin of error will be that much smaller, especially when coupled with Marc Tyler and Anthony Brown out and possibly Marqise Lee. The O-line still isn't giving Barkley the best protection he needs and at times the play calling is a little too easy to recognize.

Cal has a decent defense and they keyed on Woods...that usually means that somebody is left in man coverage, that somebody is usually Lee this week though it could be Barndon Carswell or Brice Butler. I don't think George Farmer is there yet.

But give him time...

The problem on Thursday was that Matt Barkley was hardly in precision mode. Barks had a number of throws just out of reach that would have led to sure TD's. Notre dame has its own issues but they are better than Cal so USC needs to make the most out of their opportunities.

Lane Kiffin had some observations...

Coach Lane Kiffin said Barkley and the offense were "inches away from a big day," a reference to a handful of passes that were just off the mark. Kiffin said "there’s no easy answer" to why Barkley has bouts of inaccuracy but did point to the quarterback’s technique.

Kiffin said that on two sideline fade routes, Barkley unnecessarily looked off the safety, resulting in him not seeing and then missing his target. Footwork also is a regular point of emphasis.

I have numerous times already about Barkley needing to turn the corner as he headed into his junior season.

The question is is he making the turn?

I can't go off one off performance but as USC heads into a tough four-game stretch the concerns are there.

Kiffin also said this...

USC coach Lane Kiffin said he was surprised and disappointed by the negative reaction among certain media to his team’s performance Thursday night at Cal. On the heels of the wildly successful Pete Carroll era, USC is a victim of unreasonably high expectations.

"These kids have had a lot of taken away from them," Kiffin said, referring to the NCAA sanctions that have cost the Trojans postseason eligibility and scholarships.

"We win by 21 on the road, and you’d think we lost by 21."

I'm not sure what media he is talking about...but the film don't lie.

The fact is most of us want to see a balanced performance.

I like that Barkley and Woods and Lee are lights out but it would be nice to the running game be just as successful. The defense looks much better but they still have some issues. I think people are simply being realistic.\

Kiffin may not look at the schedule ahead but a lot of do...and the next three out of four games are going to be tough.

Barkley is being honest when he says his performance was just "alright"...

Asked after the game how he thought he performed in USC's 30-9 win over Cal at AT&T Park on Thursday night, Trojans quarterback Matt Barkley cut right to the chase.

"Alright," Barkley said. "Just alright.

"Not good enough to win big games, but always stuff to improve on."

That tells the majority of the story right there. Barkley wasn't terrible -- it's hard to be terrible at the college level if you don't throw a pick. But he wasn't good, either -- completing only 19-of-35 passes for a 54 percent completion percentage, his worst rate in a win since November 2009 against Arizona State. He didn't have a game worse than 53 percent all last season.

Barkley knows the meaning of what happened in the San Francisco Giants' stadium Thursday night. He knows that, while the Trojans won comfortably over Cal, they may actually have regressed on offense heading into what could end up being the most important game of their season. He knows that another 54 percent clip against the Irish in eight days will almost certainly mean a Notre Dame win in South Bend.

Nobody expects perfection...that is simply unrealistic.

But many expect progress.

We are seeing it on the defense but the offense, especially on the line and the running game, has to improve.

'SC has their work cut out for them in South Bend...

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Some reading material...

USC feasts on California's turnovers for 30-9 victory -
Reporting from San Francisco -- The score passed the eye test.

USC's win over Cal is a reminder of what's missing -
Where has the Trojans' killer instinct, as much a trademark in the Pete Carroll era as his relentless credo to compete, gone?

USC linebacker Dion Bailey has a giant takeaway game -
Linebacker Dion Bailey , who entered Thursday night's game as USC 's leading tackler, spoke this week of being unsatisfied with his performance.

Resurgent defense carries USC past Cal - The Orange County Register

USC at Cal Offensive Recap " Trojan Football Statistics

USC at Cal Defensive Recap " Trojan Football Statistics

For U.S.C., Injuries and Inconsistency -
U.S.C defeated Cal to go to 5-1, but didn't look impressive in doing so.

Error-prone Cal Bears lose to USC Trojans 30-9
Essential football truths were revealed to painful effect Thursday night as Cal lost its third straight game to fall to 0-3 in the Pac-12 by a 30-9 count against USC at AT&T Park. When everything else is equal, turning...

Recap: California vs. U-S-C - Sacramento Bee
Get Sacramento sports scores on the Sacramento Kings, San Francisco 49ers, Oakland Raiders, and Sacramento high school sports at The Sacramento Bee

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Some post-game interviews...