Trojans, Buffaloes Share “Close” Identity and More USC Football News


Can’t get enough USC football news? We’ve got your morning dose of all the best content from around the web concerning the men of Troy.

1st & 10:

First Take… Colorado-based sportswriter Neil Woelk opined Monday that the Buffaloes must move past their identity of being “close.”

"Purely from a physical standpoint, the Buffs have narrowed the gap tremendously. In MacIntyre’s first year, Colorado was pushed around by almost everyone in the Pac-12. The talent gap was a chasm. That’s not the case anymore. The Buffs aren’t being manhandled on a weekly basis. Week in, week out they are much more competitive. Instead of being a punching bag, they’re punching back. But they still haven’t established that identity of a team that will line up and take what it wants when it matters most. They’re still a team mired in near misses. Saturday, for the second week in a row, the Buffs came up empty on a first-and-goal situation. Against UCLA, it was a first-and-goal from the 5. Against Stanford, it was a first-and-goal from the 3. Close."

In an odd way, so much of what has defined Colorado over the last few years has also defined USC.

Before the start of every season, the question of whether or not USC is “back” gets posed because every season the Trojans look so close to getting back to a top level.

And every season USC has come up short. “They’re still a team mired in near misses,” Woelk described Colorado. That applies to the Trojans as well. They were a Hail Mary loss short of going to last year’s Pac-12 title game for the first time since the conference was split. They were a performance against UCLA away from earning Ed Orgeron the job.

This is a USC which rarely gets blown out, but often does not meet their potential, dropping games they could win with a bit more fight.

This is a USC with the talent to win out, but doubts remain about their ability to “take what they want when it matters most.”

What USC needs to fear is that the narrative, if not the match up, heading into Friday favors the Buffaloes reaching the resolution of their “close” problem before the Trojans can do the same.

“I’m tired of hearing people say that we’re this close and if we had made this play or that play it would be different,” Woelk quoted safety Tedric Thompson in his piece. “It’s happening week after week. Everybody in that locker room is their own man. We need to come together as men and really figure it out.”

A USC win is a given. Vegas has the line at 16 points and anything short of a blowout would be considered a disappointment.

A Colorado win would be the climactic scene at the end of the movie about a scrappy underdog who finally landed the knock out punch.

Afterwards, Woelk and countless others would write pieces about how they finally did it. How Colorado finally slayed a giant.

There would be no waxing poetic for Los Angeles sportswriters after a Trojan victory. That would have to wait until USC slays their own boogeymen by the name of Jim Mora and the UCLA Bruins. But they can’t get there without dashing the Buffaloes dreams first.

Then Colorado might just do the Trojans a favor by landing their knock out blow on the final day of the regular season against Utah. Talk about a narrative that suits both sides.

And Ten USC Football News Links…

  1. Reign of Troy: We explored all the parallels between the Clay Helton and Ed Orgeron eras as interim head coaches because the comparison is unavoidable at this point.
  2. Reign of Troy: Vegas set the Trojans as 14.5-point favorites to start the week, but the line has moved to 16.
  3. Reign of Troy: Cam Smith missed practice and was scheduled for an MRI Monday, but Helton said it was a preventative measure and that he should be able to play on Friday.
  4. LA Times: USC is getting ready to deal with the cold in Colorado, but according to Steven Mitchell, the receivers will not be wearing sleeves.
  5. LA Times: Helton laid on the praise for Cody Kessler Monday, even though the quarterback’s numbers have not been prolific lately.
  6. ESPN: Trojan commit Liam Jimmons is focused on getting ready for college and told Johnny Curren that his commitment is 100% solid despite the coaching turmoil.
  7. Dan Weber runs down all the ways USC’s game against Colorado is evidence of a scheduling nightmare — short week, road trip, in November chill, at altitude.
  8. OC Register: Tre Madden is struggling through another injury-plagued season, but Helton says he should be back in the swing of things in time to play against Colorado.
  9. CBS Sports: USC may not have made the cut for the AP or coaches top 25, but the CBS Sports 128 has the Trojans ranked No. 23, ahead of UCLA.
  10. Bleacher Report: USC commit Amari Rodgers laid a double stiff arm in a highlight reel touchdown from the weekend.

Stat of the Day:

USC has never lost to Colorado in nine meetings and has never lost on Friday night in four appearances. The Trojans have also never played on Friday the 13th.

Tweets of the Day:

"Injuires suck"