USC Football: Rating the 2012 Schedule, Bruce Feldman Style


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CBS Sports’ Bruce Feldman showed off his pizzazz on Tuesday morning, ranking the top 10 football schedules of 2012 with his own rating system, which accounts for cupcakes and powerhouses. USC didn’t make the top 10, but let’s see how the Trojans fare, using the Feldman method. First, let’s get the criteria in order, via Feldman himself:

"To help figure things out, I awarded a point system to every team’s opponents: 1 for a “cupcake;” 2 for a decent team; 3 for a top 40 caliber opponent; 4 for a top 20ish opponent; 5 for a Top 5 heavyweight. I’d also bump up the point total, usually half a point, if it were a road opponent. (When it came to ties, such as Michigan vs. KU vs. Ole Miss, I factored in things like sequencing — meaning the Alabama into Air Force game makes AFA a bit tougher than it would normally be. Same for Ole Miss having an easier opening month.)"

September 1 vs. Hawai’i: These are not your mother’s Warriors. Yes, they were 12th in the nation in passing a year ago, but they only averaged 25 points in their last six games and lost four of their last five to finish 6-7. They’ll break in a new quarterback in 2012, possbily David Graves, and they don’t have a running game. Consider them a cupcake: 1 Point

September 8 vs. Syracuse at the Meadowlands: The ‘Cuse gave the Trojans fits for stetches of the first half last year, plus they return quarterback Ryan Nassib and their top two receivers. Despite not having tight-end Nick Provo to kill the Trojans again, given that this is USC’s first east coast trip in a while, it’s safe to throw in some bonus points. Syracuse is decent and a game at the Meadowlands is worth a little extra: 2.5 points

September 15 at Stanford: The Cardinal are a wild card in 2012. They have a great recruiting class, but replace the best quarterback they’ve ever had, and no, not John Elway. The game is in Palo Alto and with the exception of a big win against a very bad Stanford team in 2006, the Trojans have struggled there since the Carson Palmer era. Stanford might not crack the Top 15, but they’re surely Top 40: 3.5 points

September 23 vs. Cal: The Bears are as predictable as Facebook’s stock price. They won’t be great, and likely will disappoint with their talent, but that doesn’t mean they’re not decent. They’re always ‘decent’, at least: 2 points

October 4 at Utah: A Thursday night affair against a likely 4-0 Utah team has ‘trap game’ written all over it. Like Stanford, the Utes aren’t going to be a top team by any means, but they’re well coached and will field a healthy Jordan Wynn and the best student section in the Pac-12. Utah is dangerous, folks: 3.5 points

October 13 at Washington: The trip to Seattle is another tough game for the Trojans, and surely the Huskies will be the most talented team the Trojans will face on the road this season. UW lost talented back Chris Polk, but Keith Price is the poorman’s Robert Griffin III. Washington will be ranked this year, and you know what, I think they surprise a lot of people: 4.5 points

October 20 vs. Colorado: I like my cupcakes without icing, please. 1 point

October 27 at Arizona: The Wildcats will be in rebuilding mode this season, without Nick Foles and with the addition of Rich Rodriguez’s spread-option attack being implemented. U of A will be decent: 2.5 points

November 3 vs. Oregon: A precursor to the Pac-12 Championship Game, when the Ducks roll into the Coliseum, they’ll be a top 10 team as they’ve been for the last half decade or so. Their quarterback issues are up in the air, but everytime we say that, they end up being led by a guy who defies all odds, like Dennis Dixon, Jeremiah Masoli or Darron Thomas. That’s what powerhouses do: 5 points

November 11 vs. Arizona State: The Trojans will seek revenge on the Sun Devils, despite them bringing a new quarterback, head coach and coaching staff to the Coliseum. Nike might send them into the Coliseum with flaming jerseys, but they won’t be fire retardant. ASU might be a top 40 team to some, but not I: 2 points

November 18 at* UCLA: The Bruins could win eight games this year, and they’ll probably start the year 5-1, given their schedule. But, they still don’t have a defense and have yet to prove they’ve replaced Cade McNown at quarterback, despite Richard Brehaut and Brett Hundley looking good in their Spring Game. They’ll be out of the top 40 come November: 2 points

November 25 vs. Notre Dame: The last time the Irish were at the Coliseum, Ronald Johnson dropped a Mitch Mustain pass to lose the game, the only accurate pass of his USC career. The Trojans will get revenge and ensure that the Irish won’t be bowl eligble, as their schedule does them no favors. The Irish are decent, however: 2 points

Total: 31.5 points, which is six points shy of Feldman’s top 10. Maybe if the Trojans scheduled a preseason affair with the Indianapolis Colts, they’d add those six points and finally beat Andrew Luck. Maybe. Possibly. Perhaps?