"Fight On", college football, football, L.A. Memorial Coliseum, NCAA, Pac-12 Conference, Pac-12 South, Trojan Family, Trojan Football, Trojans, University of Southern California, USC, USC Football, USC Trojans
UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA TROJAN FOOTBALL – 131st SEASON
2017 Record: 11-3, 8-1 and First Place in the Pac-12 South
- PAC-12 CONFERENCE CHAMPIONS, beating Stanford in the Pac-12 Championship game 31-28, on December 1st
- Beat UCLA for the third straight season, 28-23, on November 18th
- Had a five game winning streak from October 28th to December 1st, which clinched the division and the conference for them
- Lost to Notre Dame, 49-14, on October 21st
- Lost to Ohio State in the Cotton Bowl, 24-7, on December 29th
Coach: Clay Helton, 4th season
Home: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, capacity 80,000
Key Returning Players (2017 stats):
- Stephen Carr, RB (Soph) – 363 yards, 5.6 ypc, 3 TD
- Aca’Cedric Ware, RB (Sr) – 247 yards, 5.0 ypc, 1 TD
- Tyler Vaughns, WR (Soph) – 57 receptions, 809 yards, 5 TD
- Michael Pittman, Jr, WR (Jr) – 23 receptions, 404 yards, 2 TD
- Cameron Smith, LB (Sr) – 112 tackles, 11 TFL
- Porter Gustin, LB (Sr) – 16 tackles, 3 TFL, 3.0 sacks (only played four games due to injury)
- Iman Marshall, DB (Sr) – 51 tackles, 10 passes broken up
- Marvell Tell III, DB (Sr) – 85 tackles, 3 INT
- At Stanford, September 8th
- At Texas, September 15th
- At Arizona, September 29th
- At Utah, October 20th
- At UCLA, November 17th
- vs Notre Dame, November 24th
Preseason Rank: 15th AP, 12th Coaches Poll
USC’s well-known Song Girls doing a routine at the Coliseum. Photo courtesy of athlonsports.com
Comments and Thoughts:
This past April I was at a USC baseball game, writing about the experience for this blog.
During the affair, I got to talking with the guy in charge of the beer table selling the malted hops, and as it turned out, he was a member of the USC Trojan Marching Band back in the early 1980s.
It was a decent conversation, highlighted by him agreeing with me that with so many Trojan heroes from last year, including Sam Darnold (who’s now a New York Jet) and Ronald Jones II (who’s now a Tampa Bay Buccaneer), gone to the NFL, 2018 is going to be an interesting season at Troy.
Though they’re losing some key guys on offense, if I were a ‘SC alum I wouldn’t be too worried about the Trojans’ chances.
USC’s best quarterback and (quite possibly) their best wide receiver were teammates at Santa Ana’s (CA) Mater Dei High School last season, leading them to a perfect 15-0 record and a state championship in 2017; while Coach Helton isn’t giving anything away to the media as to who will be under center against UNLV on September 1st, steadfastly holding to the corporate line of “Nothing’s been decided” and “The best player will play”,
I am strongly convinced that J.T Daniels will be the starter at quarterback for USC, while Amon-Ra St. Brown will be lining up at one of the receiver spots when those Trojans kick things off at the Coliseum to begin their 131st season of football this Labor Day weekend.
A USC highlight film from a very successful 2017 season, courtesy of YouTube (click on the link)
From what I’ve read in the Trojans’ practice notes from the Los Angeles Times, Daniels, the 2017 Gatorade National Player of the Year who skipped his senior year at Mater Dei, and St. Brown have dazzled at fall camp, Daniels outperforming incumbents Matt Fink and Jack Sears.
The bottom line here is, I will be surprised if Daniels and St. Brown don’t get the job. Even though they are true freshmen and will inevitably suffer from a few growing pains – Daniels, being the QB, in particular – they are capable of making an impact right away given their pedigree and the high school program they came from, which for all intents and purposes is the USC junior varsity team, so many guys who played their high school ball as Mater Dei Monarchs becoming Trojans, like Matt Barkley and Matt Leinart, just to name a couple.
As for the rest of that ‘SC team, I see the defense, which is chock full of experienced seniors, being the focus and the key to any success they have, especially in the first month as a key to beating those Trojans has always been getting to them early, before they have time to gel because USC has always peaked by mid-season, riding that peak through November and December.
Gustin and Smith will be counted on to stop the run and wreak havoc in the opposing backfield, and Marshall and Tell will likewise be counted on to cause damage in the secondary – as well as be team leaders.
And the depth that ‘SC has always had, with Daniels and St. Brown being part of the Trojans’ usual top-ten recruiting class, will be a big factor in their chances.
All right, it’s time to give my official prediction as to how I see USC faring this year…
The Trojans will win nine games, their depth and overall talent enabling them to repeat as Pac-12 South champions, and go to a good bowl game if not a New Year’s Six Bowl – likely the Alamo or the Holiday – but I don’t see them repeating as Pac-12 Champions as Washington, being as loaded as they are, is a bit too strong this year.
Having said that, there are five teams who could beat ‘SC this season.
I am not saying that they will beat them; I’m saying that they could, because quality and personnel-wise they are good, solid teams and not exactly chopped liver, and they will be extremely motivated to take USC down.
I will list those teams in my game-by-game predictions article, which will appear on this blog a week from this writing.
If you members of the “Trojan Family” want to find out who those teams are, be sure to check out this blog on the afternoon of August 27th.