Breaking down the Trojans’ schedule

Can USC run the table this season and get to the College Football Playoff?

All right then, last we left off, we had the Trojans undefeated in their first six matchups, plus winning their dance with the Cal Bears on October 28th. While all are competent teams, there isn’t an actual test amongst the early opponents, and if the Trojans fall off the wagon in the early slate of their schedule, we will need a bigger boat because there will be bigger fish to fry.

Let’s continue to operate at best case scenario: Lincoln Riley’s crew will be 6-0 as they trade the sunshine of California for whatever weather Indiana throws at them. Game 7 in South Bend, Indiana, could have massive playoff implications.

Hypothetically, if Notre Dame defeats the Ohio State Buckeyes, which is a possibility, Marcus Freeman and Co. could begin to smell blood in the water. The Fighting Irish have brought grad transfer Sam Hartman, a player who had a very successful career at Wake Forest, to lead a VERY
veteran group. Last year, Williams and Jones ran wild when Notre Dame came to Cali for a dance; if the Irish can shore that up, they’ll have a shot. All this being said, I don’t think this is where USC trips up. While Notre Dame will be ultra-competitive, this USC team should be even better in the air, and if it comes to another potential shootout, I’m going with the Trojans.

Next up: ‘The Monkey on the Back’. Utah has had USC’s number, winning the last three contests, the last two in thrilling fashion. While I’m all-aboard the Utah train, I think the saving grace for the Trojans in this matchup is the fact the Utes must head to SoCal. Had this been going down in
Utah, I’m not so sure things would unfold as smoothly; they still might not.

In the PAC-12 Championship last season, with the playoff on the line for USC, the Utes ran wild while USC ran in place. Everyone from Utah is returning to the party, and Kyle Whittingham is sure to come back with the game plan to run it down USC’s throats and keep it from Caleb. But,
while Utah might have success running on Alex Grinch’s gang, I still do not think this is where USC trips up; 51-35 USC, wild score prediction in August time, baby.

Next up, the Cal Bears. In part one of this series of articles, I said that it is not a sexy game and should be an easy win, so let’s chalk it up quickly and tell the lovely people of NoCal to have a beer on us!

The Washington Huskies are the #10 team in the pre- season rankings for several reasons, mainly their QB-WR connection. The Michael Penix Jr. to Rome Odunze connection might be the best in the nation, and no one is
really talking about it. The pair were lethal last year and, at one point, had a four-game stretch in which Odunze had 34 catches, 561 yards, and 5 TD’s. They’re on a 7-game win streak dating back to last year, with one of those games being in Eugene. Had the Huskies not lost two back-to-back
games on the road (their only two losses of the year) early, they would have been in the playoffs. If Washington wins this matchup, the competition will put Michael Penix Jr. in a seat in New York come December; book that. But once again, this is not where the Trojans trip up. They hunker down and take care of business at home. If anyone can outduel MPJ, it’s Williams—another one for the Trojans.

Oh, hello, Oregon. The Trojans head to Oregon next, which many people think will be their most challenging game, not me. I say that USC heads into Eugene, and they go duck hunting. I respect the Oregon hype and think they’ll be a top-20 team throughout the year, but we saw what this team did last. We’ve seen what Bo Nix’s been every year. To me, the Ducks are the 4th best team in the PAC-12, and I think if USC heads to Oregon undefeated, with a playoff berth in sight, Riley slams the door and heads to his match-up against their rivals UCLA back in SoCal.

I don’t think Chip Kelly is a bad coach, and he and Dante Moore can make some noise together next year in the Big-10 But this year, they get popped in the mouth by a freight train that is the USC Trojans. USC ‘heads’ to UCLA and beats the brakes off ’em.

Undefeated in the regular season, ultimately a PAC-12 title, and no trip up: that’s the prediction. No losses heading into the playoffs. Is that wild? Of course! Probably! Maybe not! But this USC team, has excellent CONTINUITY. Riley and Williams’ second year in SoCal should prove to be the perfect ingredient for success.

What will happen once they get to the playoffs? That we’ll save for if/when the daunting prediction becomes reality. But fairy tales happen all the time, and nothing would be more poetic than an undefeated USC team heading into the playoffs, as the PAC-12 pens’ fin’ on the last page of its
book. Now it’s time to see.