When I think of the USC Trojans, I think of the most talented team overall in the country. A team filled with future NFL players, the Trojans have some real superstars. With only one loss this season, many fans would consider this to be a great accomplishment for their team, but too much of the Trojan fan base, and many other fans around the country, the Trojans have had a disappointing season thus far. The Trojans were expected to knock the SEC of the pedestal this year and win a national championship (I certainly thought they would), but with an early loss to Stanford, those hopes look grim at best. However, if the Trojans win out and accomplish this in a big way, I could see them still contending for a national championship. BUT first, these Trojans have to get by the stingy and scrappy Washington Huskies. Here’s my positional preview on the big game between the Trojans and Dawgs.
October 4, 2012; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Southern California Trojans quarterback Matt Barkley (7) throws a touchdown pass during the second half against the Utah Utes at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Southern California defeated Utah 38-28. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-US PRESSWIRE
QB- Trojans- Matt Barkley is a surefire, top-ten, first round NFL draft pick this year. Probably even top five. He has all the tools you want in a QB and just gets the job done. Keith Price is a solid QB as well, but nobody matches up to the level of Matt Barkley in the conference, maybe even the nation (besides you, of course, Geno Smith). The Dawgs D will have a tough time, to say the least, with Barkley. Key Player: All-Around superstar Matt Barkley
RB- Huskies- This may come as a surprise to some people. You may ask how Silas Redd and Curtis McNeal aren’t more skilled than little old Bishop Sankey, but in my opinion, Sankey is the back of the future for the Dawgs. He has had three straight 100-yard rushing games and even though one of those games was against Portland State, Sankey has proved his worth to the Husky offense with other great performances against Oregon and Stanford. With Keith Price struggling, Sankey is a precious commodity. Key Player: Little, but tough, Bishop Sankey
WR- Trojans- I mean what more can be said about Robert Woods and Marqise Lee. I’ve stated in previous posts that the Huskies won’t face many teams with a better receiver than Kasen Williams, but the Trojans have two of those guys in Woods and Lee. Both, like Barkley, are surefire, first round NFL talent and when both are eligible (Woods after this year, Lee in two years) you can be sure they will have huge impacts on their NFL teams. There is only one Desmond Trufant on the Huskies, but two superstars on the Trojans. Trufant can only cover one. Good luck, Dez. Key Player: Track-star Marqise Lee
TE- Huskies- ASJ got dinged up last week against the Ducks and that’s the only reason why the Dawgs hold a slight advantage over the Trojans in this position battle, rather than a large advantage. The Trojans have two formidable tight ends in Xavier Grimble and Randall Telfer, but they don’t match the size and skill of ASJ. If he is healthy, look for ASJ to be a key factor in this game. He could mean the difference between a win and a loss. Key Player: Bully on the playground, Austin Seferian-Jenkins
OL- Trojans- With Khaled Holmes back and feeling 100%, the Trojans line will be led by an All-Conference caliber player in Holmes. Both lines, the Dawgs and the Trojans, have senior leaders at center, but more of the skill being on the Trojans side. The Huskies line has been getting better and better as more chemistry and experience have improved the entire line’s skill. However, I still think that the consistency and skill of the Trojan line out matches the young UW line. Key Player: DJ Khaled Holmes
October 4, 2012; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Southern California Trojans quarterback Matt Barkley (7) and center Khaled Holmes (78) eye the Utah Utes defense during the first half at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-US PRESSWIRE
Overall Offense- Trojans- The Huskies offense has been disappointing this year, to say the least. Not to say that the Trojans offense has been all that people thought it would be, but they still have one of the best attacks in the country, even if they only mustered up 14 points against Stanford. They will look to shred the Dawgs defense with Barkley, Woods and Lee and find their way back on the path to the national championship. Key Player: Trackstar Marqise Lee
DL-Trojans- The Trojans have got some big boys up front. Lead by the sudden emergence of Morgan Breslin, the Trojans defensive line has been solid all year. I think they may get a little over hyped and it will show in the fact that the Dawgs offensive line will finally be able to protect Keith Price. The Dawgs have Josh Shirley and Danny Shelton, but that doesn’t match the skill of the entire Trojan line. Key Player: Big man with the speed, Morgan Breslin
LB- Huskies- This year, Travis Feeney has been a huge surprise for the Dawgs, along with Thomas Tutogi. Both of these strong, quick young guys have been all over the field recently, after not even being considered as players who would have a big role in games this season. One of the reasons why the Huskies were able to stuff up the run against Stanford was because of this linebacking crew. USC’s backers aren’t as skilled as our Washington core. Key Player: The tarantula, Travis Feeney
Sept 27, 2012; Seattle, WA, USA; Stanford Cardinal quarterback Josh Nunes rushes against Washington Huskies linebacker Thomas Tutogi (50) and linebacker Shaq Thompson (7) during the first quarter at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-US PRESSWIRE
DB- Huskies- With the surge of the stellar play of Desmond Trufant, not many secondaries will be as skilled as the Huskies. The trio of Trufant, Shaq Thompson, and Sean Parker have lots of skill between themselves and will attempt to contain Robert Woods and Marqise Lee Saturday. I think this will be a very tall task, but in the end, in my opinion, the secondary will be able to contain these superstar receivers. It could all depend on the play of Matt Barkley, but who knows, maybe Shaq will make a great INT just like last week and effect the game tremendously. Shaq will need to be on his game Saturday for the Dawgs to have a chance. Key Player: The five star, Shaq Thompson
Overall Defense- Huskies- I truly think that the Dawgs have the advantage on the defensive side of the ball. While the Dawgs have a solid pass rush which may not be as skilled as the Trojans, the Huskies have a better linebacking core and group of defensive backs than the Trojans and that is where the Dawgs will have the edge. However, if Washington wants any chance at a win, the secondary will have to be on their game. Key Player: The five star, Shaq Thompson
I really have gone back and forth with this pick. I’ve constantly said to myself a couple of things: The Trojans just had a bye week, but the Dawgs beat Stanford and the Trojans didn’t! Hey maybe the Dawgs will pull it off! I mean the Dawgs do play amazing at home and are almost unbeatable, but the Trojans have one of the best offenses in the country… In the end, my prediction is that the Huskies will come through with a victory. Keith Price will find his groove and with a balanced rushing attack of Bishop Sankey, look for this offense to be clicking on all cylinders come Saturday. The defense will be motivated by the huge crowd and will support the offense in drastic ways. Dawgs win it, 30-24.