The Trojans head to Salt Lake City tonight to take on Utah in what was originally considered to be a BCS bowl buster for USC. But now with the Trojans already having one loss and Utah having two, things have changed. We decided to use the opportunity to sit down and talk about the Trojans’ BCS bowl aspirations and whether or not Lane Kiffin’s squad will be playing come January.
Trenise Ferreira (@TreniseF_RoT):
USC will still make a BCS Bowl Game, without question. There is still a lot of football to play, and plenty of time for USC to get back into peak form. Their biggest conference hindrance will obviously be Oregon, whom they will need to beat twice to see either a Rose Bowl or a National Title, but it is still doable. Out of conference, Florida State stands in USC’s way of making it to the title should the Trojans win out the rest of the season as the Seminoles are on fire and, save for a slight scare against Clemson, look pretty unstoppable. USC on the other hand, has not looked so infallible this season, even before their loss to Stanford. This team has too much talent to just wilt under the pressure, and a one-loss USC team is in many ways more dangerous than a perfect one. So expect the Trojans to right their ship and start playing their game, and when they take on Oregon in the Coliseum in November, count on them to–much like they did at Autzen in 2011–leave no doubt.
Alicia de Artola (@PenguinofTroy):
Yes. The Trojans had a slow start last year. They lost a game they shouldn’t have lost early in the season and they had people questioning their talent and motivation. But they also improved immensely from September to October, and October to November. That team, even with two losses, would have likely been in a BCS game if not for the post-season ban. This year’s team is not all that different. In fact, the defense is better this year than last. The offense may be struggling, but those struggles are more related to communication and sync than talent or scheme. By the mid-point of last season, Kiffin and Barkley had that unit firing on all cylinders and there’s no reason to think they won’t be able to do it again.
USC is still very much poised to win the Pac-12 South. They will be favored in all of their remaining games, save Oregon (even that is not a certainty with the game at the Coliseum). And if the Trojans fall to Oregon, it’s not the end of their BCS hopes either because they would still go to the Pac-12 Championship game and have a chance to play their way into the Rose Bowl.
Michael Castillo (@Michael_RoT):
In order to make it into a BCS bowl, the Trojans will probably need to either get to the BCS Title game, win the Pac-12 Conference or get lucky and back into a Rose Bowl berth by having Oregon fly to Miami for Alabama’s 15th national championship anointment. The problem with those scenarios however, is that USC will have to either lose twice to Oregon or win twice, and it’s far from definite that either team could repeat a victory against the other, much less guaranteed to match up in the Pac-12 Conference Championship Game. Having said that, we’ve seen the Trojans battle back and slip into a BCS bowl numerous times, and if they finish the season as they did in 2011, they would surely be headed to a BCS Bowl.