Fansided’s College Football Roundtable


USC is 17 days away from kickoff and the wait is almost over. To get you through these tough times, the Fansided network teamed up to answer a series of questions based on our own teams and scope the national scene as well. Make sure to check out all of the other sites on here for various perspectives.

West Virginia


Penn State

1. One USC player that will be a household name by seasons end.

Matt Barkley. The true sophomore quarterback is close to being a household name already, but by season’s end everyone will know his name. Barkley had a decent freshman season, posting a 9-3 record with 15 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. He lit up Notre Dame on national television and carved up California on the road. In the offseason, Barkley slimmed down and looks leaner. His improved mobility and year of experience are a lethal combination. Add to that mix a trio of freshman wide receivers that have shown serious promise in camp and three incoming tight ends, and Barkley is poised for a tremendous season.

2. Game on your schedule that doesn’t get talked about but should.

Notre Dame. Certainly, people talk about USC-Notre Dame because it is the top intersectional rivalry in college football. However, pundits dismiss this game as though USC is going to handily beat Notre Dame again. Yes, the Golden Domers are under new management, but that’s what makes them scary. Charlie Weis was an inadequate coach and Brian Kelly will do a much better job. One thing to note: USC and Notre Dame meet in late November. By then, Kelly will have had plenty of time incorporate his system and be ready for the Trojans. USC should be favored to win this game, but it will be close than the experts think.

3. First glance at your schedule, whats your record?

11-2. Looking at the schedule, USC has four tough games, four of medium difficulty, and five gimmes. I expect USC to handle gimmes and medium games. However, the four tough games will be a challenge. Between going to Stanford, Arizona, and Oregon State, and hosting Oregon, USC will lose two games. Even so, 11-2 would be a very promising season in Lane Kiffin’s first year and without a bowl to play for. If you told me right now we will be 11-2 in December, I would be ecstatic. Ultimately, the Pac-10 winner is likely to have two losses, so USC would be in the mix to win the conference.

4. Teams biggest weakness:

Depth. 71 players are on scholarship out of a maximum of 85. With transfers and two players asking to be released, the roster is depleted. Already, depth has proven to be an issue as Lane Kiffin has abandoned practicing in full pads and tackling outside of scrimmages to avoid injuries. Along the offensive line and at linebacker, USC can’t afford injuries. The players who are there are very talented, but an injury would be devastating. Depth will be an issue for the next four years, and Kiffin will have to manage practice efficiently to prevent too many guys from getting hurt.

5. Which unranked team will be ranked at the end of the season?

Navy. In 2009, the Midshipmen almost upset Ohio State in Columbus with their option attack offense. Ken Niumatalolo is an excellent coach that has turned the Naval Academy into a respectable team. They will have a very successful season and rise into the rankings. Navy is so hard to prepare for because the option attack forces defenses to be so disciplined. 

6. Which ranked team will look back and want to redo their season?

North Carolina. The Tar Heels have plenty  of promise, but a tough schedule and a looming NCAA investigation will bring about their demise. Butch Davis is a good coach, but he underachieved last year when the expectations were high. UNC needs to get off to a fast start at LSU, but it will be hard to travel into SEC country and win. The early loss will deflate this team and set the tone for the season.

7. Season end top 5

5. Wisconsin

4. Alabama

3. Texas Christian

2. Oklahoma

1. Ohio State