USC Football’s continuous frustrations stood out again in loss to ASU

Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy
Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy /

USC football took on ASU with a chance to get its divisional life back on track. Instead it torpedoed itself again and lost 38-35.

More USC-ASU. The Studs & Duds

USC Football embarrassed everyone who had ever supported the program last weekend against Utah. This Saturday, as evident by an empty Coliseum, a lot of people refused to bear witness to that level of humiliation again.

From the first defensive series and following punt return, it looked like the Trojans also reached that decision. But unfortunately, the pitfalls that have swallowed up USC every game for the last two seasons arose and they blew the game, losing to ASU 38-35 and snapping Clay Helton’s 19-game win streak at home.

At this point, you have to treat USC like an excellent, bad television show. The type full of inconsistencies in the plot with zero-character development, but gives you just enough action to bring you back next week. The show that makes your friends and significant others scoff at you for watching, to which you can only reply: “look, I know it’s bad, but I have to see how it ends.”

Because we now have to honestly ask ourselves: will USC be bowl eligible?

Take a look at USC’s remaining schedule. They’re on the road at Oregon State next, then get Cal at home and UCLA on the road, before ending the season at home against Notre Dame. The only team I have any confidence saying they will beat is Oregon State. Maybe should beat, because even they just went into Colorado and fought back to beat the Buffs.

That you can parse words about Oregon State is the real problem with USC Football.  Let’s look at what stood out against Arizona State…

The talent is there

If the right hire is made following Clay Helton, the Trojans will compete immediately at the national level.  USC is incredibly talented, and if they had any creativity and foresight regarding offensive schemes and positional development, the offense could be near the top in the country.

The most frustrating thing is that you can look across the Pac-12, and if you gave most of the coaching staffs USC’s roster, they’re probably undefeated right now, save for Oregon State, Cal, and Colorado.

How the QB fits the offense

I’ve been a card-carrying member of the Matt Fink hive since last season. I thought his skill set fit what USC wanted to do on offense better than JT Daniels. After seeing Jack Sears, who looks to be a legitimate dynamic runner, it makes me wonder more about how this the quarterback competition was won, based on how the offense has looked with the three different quarterbacks at the helm.

USC’s pro-style spread attack is never going to work with Daniels, because you cannot run a pro-style spread exclusively out of the shotgun and pistol. Not even in the NFL, which is why the Kansas City Chiefs use a college-style spread attack.

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However, looking at Sears and Fink, if USC’s spread attack is ever going to work, it will have to look how it does when they’re playing.

The fact no one on the offensive staff cared to consider this —or worse, did and still thought Daniels was the best chance for them to win says all I need to hear.

It’s time to shake things up

The main takeaway from Saturday’s loss is that it’s time to make the change. Otherwise, with this inept offense and increasingly injured defense, it’s going to feel like reruns for the rest of the season. Though, a 5-7 record and empty Coliseum may be what it takes for athletic director Lynn Swann.

I guess we’ll have to tune in next week to find out.