2014 College Football Preview – USC Trojans

The USC Trojans’ football program is rejuvenated after signing former Washington Huskies’ coach Steve Sarkisian this offseason.  The Trojans will also enter their final year of scholarship sanctions this upcoming season.

http://yogiroth.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/USC.jpg

The USC Trojans’ football program is rejuvenated after signing former Washington Huskies’ coach Steve Sarkisian this offseason.  The Trojans will also enter their final year of scholarship sanctions this upcoming season.

With a new head coach, almost completed sanctions and a returning roster full of young talented players, USC fans have a sense of anticipation they’ve lacked since the team was preseason number one in 2012.  Although we may not be able to officially say USC is back this year (they will probably be top 25 team, but unlikely a national title contender), the current roster still has tons of talent and potential.

The talent is especially evident in the offensive skill positions.  Junior wide receiver Nelson Agholor is ready to prove that he’s more than capable of making up for the lost production of Marqise Lee, who is now in the NFL.  The Trojans also return a strong group of running backs.  Tre Madden and Buck Allen were both effective options last season and will likely continue to split carries, along with the now healthy Justin Davis.

Cody Kessler returns at quarterback and is the favorite to begin the season as the starter ahead of highly heralded freshmen Max Browne and Jalen Greene.  Kessler seemed to grow into the position last season.  The coaching staff has emphasized his need to continue growing if he wants to remain starter.

USC’s defense will probably be the team’s lynchpin and overall greatest strength.  Defensive end Leonard Williams, cornerback Josh Shaw, safety Su’a Cravens and linebacker Hayes Pullard anchor a unit that finished first in the Pac-12 in total defense last year and which returns eight starters.

The Trojans’ schedule looks very difficult, with an early-season trip to Stanford and games at Arizona and UCLA later in the season. Both Stanford and UCLA are potential preseason top 10 teams.  USC also has tough home games against Arizona State, Oregon State and rival Notre Dame.

Taking this information into account, the Trojans currently have a 33-1 chance of winning the College Football Championship.  USC’s 33-1 odds are tied for fourteenth highest along with Wisconsin.