After a hectic move in weekend, I finally had a chance to sit down and read last Wednesday’s edition of the Daily Trojan, USC’s student newspaper. As usual, the sports columnists participated in a feature called “Best Bets”, where they peer into their crystal ball and provide answers to questions and handicap games. This year, we have decided to play along and see how we stack up. To the questions…
Numeber of Matt Barkley TD passes:
22. A year ago, Barkley had 15 touchdown passes to go with 14 interceptions. With a year of experience comes better decision making. Add to that a deeper rotation of talented receivers than last year, and Barkley ups his touchdown total by seven.
USC’s leading rusher:
Allen Bradford. Every columnist picked Allen Bradford, and it is hard to argue against that. USC has a nice stable of backs, but it would be surprising if Bradford didn’t shoulder the majority of the load. He is a tough, bruising back with good speed that showed signs of excellence in 2009. Now, it’s his turn to lead the rotation at Tailback U.
USC’s 2010 record:
11-2. For about a month now, I have been thinking USC will reach 11 wins. Even without much to play for, the schedule sets up nicely for the Trojans. The non-conference slate isn’t very tough and USC has the luxury of traveling to Pullman to play the Cougars. Overall, it looks as though USC has four tough matchups, with a split likely. They will be pushed to the brink–and perhaps over the cliff–at Stanford, at Arizona, at Oregon State, and at home against Oregon. When all is said and done, USC should fall between 9 and 13 wins, with 11 the most likely scenario. If the total is anything less than 9, Kiffin will be under further scrutiny.
NCAA surprise team:
Navy. Coach Ken Niumatalolo has done an excellent job of turning this team around and making Navy a force to be reckoned with. With the starting quarterback returning, the triple option offense poses many problems for opponents. Navy will rise through the ranks to surprise many in 2010.
The Heisman goes to….
Tyrelle Pryor. After a dubious start to 2009, Pryor showed maturity in poise down the stretch as he led the Buckeyes to a Rose Bowl victory. If he continues to carve up defenses like he did against Oregon in the Rose Bowl, Pryor is well on his way to securing the Heisman trophy.
AP No. 1 end of season
Ohio State. Jim Tressel, in his sweater vest, will lead the Buckeyes to the national title behind Tyrelle Pryor. The Buckeyes have flatlined in championship games in recent memory, but this team is different. The mental makeup seems to be in place after beating Oregon last year and ending the BCS bowl losing streak.