Coming into the bye week, the USC Trojans currently holds a 3-2 record with losses to Stanford and Texas and victories over UNLV, Washington State, and Arizona. Depending on who you are and how you had the team before the season, you’re either disappointed or expected a 3-2 record heading into the bye week. Much of the unhappiness isn’t with the team’s record, but it’s how they’re performing through the last 5 games.
USC looked like a team that appears to be trending in the wrong direction and there are multiple factors that contributes to this. Recently the team showing their inability to put together a full 4 quarters of football as they have shown against Arizona, or the offense unable to score points when it plus territory which happened during the Stanford and Texas games, or penalties. There’s a laundry list of problems for the Trojans and they only have one bye week to at least correct some of their issues.
There are some positives to look at here. True Freshman quarterback JT Daniels is starting to find his rhythm with the receivers. Daniels haven’t played perfect, but he has been putting together a solid couple of games. The defense has also looked pretty solid dispite the lack of a pass rush outside of Porter Gustin and the secondary opposite of Iman Marshall. Also running backs Vavae Malapeai and Stephen Carr have rejuvenated the Trojans rushing attack while the offensive play calling has shown some improvements.
Looking at the remaining games on the schedule, USC will have a few games that will be tougher than usual. The good thing about the second half of the schedule is that the tough games are at home. Colorado, Arizona State, and Notre Dame all come to the Coliseum while their toughest road game to appear to be at Utah. Oregon State and UCLA appear to be winnable games at this point. Not to mention the Pac-12 South is there for the taking if USC can defeat Colorado and Utah the next two weeks.
While USC has the schedule on their side, they also have to make the adjustments and find out just who the heck they are. The Trojans carry tons of talent to make another run and win the Pac-12 South, however the inconsistencies in play, coaching, and discipline has got to improve. This bye week USC must fix these issues if they want to accomplish their goals. At this rate, USC hasn’t gotten any better. As a matter of fact they’ve trended backwards and their wins over Arizona and Washington State hasn’t shown that they’re getting any better. Maybe the bye week is what the Trojans need and don’t be surprised that things start to really get rolling here soon.
This week will be very critical for USC moving forward. This will be the time to correct mistakes from the first 5 games of the season and make the proper adjustments to make another run towards the Pac-12 Championship. If they can do that then there’s no reason why this team can’t win the conference and play on New Years Day in Pasadena, California. In order for that to happen it must to start with them.