Nov 17, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans wide receiver Marqise Lee (9) celebrates with teammates after a touchdown against the UCLA Bruins during the game at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Pac-12 Football Preview: South No. 2 USC Trojans


Nov 3, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans running back Silas Redd (25) is tackled by Oregon Ducks linebacker Michael Clay (46) at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Oregon defeated USC 62-51. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

Pac-12 Season Preview Series

South:

3. UCLA

4. Arizona

5. Utah

6. Colorado

2012 record: 7-5 (5-4 Pac-12)

Key returnees: LB Morgan Breslin, WR Marqise Lee, RB Silas Redd, DE Leonard Williams

Key departures: QB Matt Barkley, C Khaled Holmes, DB T.J. McDonald, WR Robert Woods,

Key additions: DT Kenny Bigelow (Eastern Christian Academy/Elkton, MD), QB Max Browne (Skyline HS/Sammamish, Wash.), DB Su’a Cravens (Vista Murrieta HS/Murrieta, Calif.)

2012 season recap:

Last season was unquestionably one of the most disappointing seasons in USC history. The Trojans went from preseason No. 1 to unranked and losing to 7-6 Georgia Tech – team that was below .500 entering the bowl game. Everything looked fine and dandy after the first two weeks, although the win against Syracuse was a little too close for many fans’ liking. A loss to a very good Stanford team wasn’t even out of the ordinary. USC was able to start 6-1, but its only real tests were against Stanford – a loss – and Washington – a win, but the Huskies were still only a seven-win team, too. Everything fell apart after heartbreaking loss in Tucson to the Wildcats. After starting 6-1, the Trojans would finish the season 1-5.

Much of the blame was put on head coach Lane Kiffin, despite quarterback Matt Barkley putting together an underwhelming senior season that cost him millions of dollars. Now, despite what USC athletic director Pat Haden says, many think Kiffin is fighting for his job this season, and anything less than a Pac-12 South title could lead to his firing.

2013 season preview:

USC loses two of its biggest playmakers in Barkley and wide receiver Robert Woods. In spite of this, the Trojans may still have the most talent in the Pac-12 South. For them, it’s a matter of putting it all together and Kiffin allowing the team to reach its full potential. Sure they lose Barkley, but there are three quarterbacks vying for his role that could very well put up numbers as good as he did a year ago. They return one of the most talented linebackers in the Pac-12, an All-American wide receiver and their top running back from last season.

The Trojans lose a lot, but they also return many key pieces. With last season put behind them, expect the Trojans to come out firing on all cylinders, trying to make everyone forget about the disaster last season was. If whoever wins the quarterback competition can simply run the offense – the Trojans don’t need anything spectacular – then they should win at least eight games. With loads of talent, a coach with something to prove, and a schedule that works in their favor, the Trojans are once again a team to be reckoned with in the Pac-12 South.

2013 predicted finish: 9-4 (5-4 Pac-12), second in the Pac-12 South

Dick's Sporting Goods presents "Hell Week":

Tags: Football USC Trojans Washington Huskies