Sep 12, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans players celebrate after the game against the Idaho Vandals at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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1st & 10:
First Take… This time last week, USC football looked on the verge of dire straits. Fresh off a loss to Stanford and gearing up to face an ASU team which had their number in Tempe, the Trojans faced a must-win proposition.
And they got that win.
Now, after four games, USC remains on track to challenge for the Pac-12 South just as they did before losing to Stanford.
Importantly, the Trojans hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Sun Devils.
Considering most in the media predicted USC to end September with a 3-1 record, it is fortuitous that the Trojans dropped the game of lesser importance when it comes to the Pac-12 standings.
This weekend the men of Troy get to sit at home and watch the action. If Stanford handles Arizona at home, last year’s division winners will be in a sizable hole at 0-2 in conference. Should UCLA take care of business at the Rose Bowl against ASU, both desert schools would be in serious trouble.
Taking all that and the remainder of the season into account, the simple fact that emerges is that from here on out the Trojans control their own destiny. Win and they’re in.
The margin for error may have shrunk with the Stanford loss, but even losing to Oregon in Autzen or to Cal on Halloween may not spell the end for USC if they down their southern rivals.
Since splitting into divisions in 2011, the Pac-12 has had a South champion with one loss just once.
And Ten USC Football News Links…
- Reign Of Troy: Antwaun Woods tweaked his check during practice on Wednesday. USC has been fairly fortunate when it comes to injuries this season, but the wear and tear of the season has certainly come into play as the Trojans hit the bye week.
- ESPN: Analytics specialist Sharon Katz says USC has a 35 percent chance to win the Pac-12, which is the highest in the conference, based on the high ranking of the Trojan offense. Mark Schlabach thinks there’s a glitch in the numbers.
- LA Times: The Trojan cornerbacks each have their own goals grand and small. As Gary Klein details, Iman Marshall aims to learn and grow until he is a legend, Adoree’ Jackson is looking even further to life beyond football where he wants to be a hometown hero and give back to the community, while Kevon Seymour is just looking to make sure his knee is ready for next week.
- LA Times: With Michael Pittman’s financial aid agreement signed and four future Trojans readying themselves for early enrollment, Lindsey Thiry gets into some scholarship math. USC now has 16 rides to work with for Signing Day.
- Daily News: Isaiah Langley is a competitor. He told Scott Wolf that he wants to win every one-on-one battle, which has helped him bounce back from a difficult fall camp to earn playing time this season. He also says he wants to follow in Jackson’s footsteps and play on both sides of the ball — once he masters the cornerback position.
- USCFootball.com: Ronald Jones II got some Whataburger while he was in Tempe, he also got a nice chunk of yardage to add to his resume. He told Dan Weber that USC’s new Cowboy formation, which features both fullbacks, is a favorite of his.
- USCFootball.com: USC offensive line coach Bob Connelly said after ASU that he has never seen so many blitzes in 21 years as a college coach. Given that, he was pleased with how his offensive line handled the pressure, though he was not happy about the penalties.
- OC Register: He may have been USC’s least touted incoming linebacker recruit, but Cameron Smith has proven himself as a starter earlier than anyone expected.
- OC Register: USC basketball got a major boost with the commitment of four-star guard Jonah Mathews out of Santa Monica.
- Fox 13 News: Here’s a bizarre story of high school sabotage which involves USC — sort of. Someone posing as a recruiting assistant from USC texted Jermaine Eskridge, a four-star receiver from Florida, to find out his address in an attempt to trick the recently-transferred player into providing evidence that his move was false. His eligibility is now in question.
Stat of the Day:
USC has played more first time players than anyone in the country this season. In total, 24 Trojans have seen the field for the first time. Clemson (23), Texas-San Antonio (22) and Kansas (21). (H/T Campus Rush)
Tweets of the Day:
More from Reign of Troy
- Markese Stepp enters transfer portal intending to leave USC football
- USC football’s Alijah Vera-Tucker declares for NFL Draft
- USC football adds Xavion Alford as transfer from Texas
- USC Podcast: RoT Radio Ep. 396 on the Football Season’s Fallout
- Talanoa Hufanga named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, USC football with five first-teamers