Southern Football Report Preseason Top 25 – Team #11

#11 – USC TrojansUSC Logo 3
Los Angeles, California
L.A. Memorial Coliseum (93, 607)
2013 Record: 10-4 (6-3)

The 2013 season for Southern California was one of the most tumultuous seasons for a college football team in a long time. Head Coach Lane Kiffin began the season on the hot seat and a poor offensive showing in a 10-7 home loss to Washington State (first Cougar win in the Coliseum in 13 years) followed by a terrible 62-41 road loss to Arizona State three weeks later landed Kiffin in the unemployment line. Defensive coordinator Ed Orgeron took over head coaching duties and led the Trojans to a 6-1 record in the next 7 games before quitting over not being offered the newly vacant head coaching job. Offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Clay Helton coached USC in their final game against UCLA (35-14 loss) and the bowl game against Fresno State (45-20 win). Finally when all that was over, the Trojans went out and hired one of their own, former offensive coordinator and Washington Head Coach Steve Sarkisian. Sarkisian led the Huskies to bowl games in each of the last 4 seasons after Washington had not been bowling in 6 seasons. Coach Kiffin did not leave the cupboard bare as sophomore quarterback Cody Kessler passed for over 2900 yards with 20 touchdowns and only 6 interceptions in 2013. They also return four of five offensive linemen who paved the way for 173 rushing yards per game in 2013 along with Javorius Allen (785 yards, 14 TD’s) and Tre Madden (703 yards, 3 TD’s) who also return. Marquis Lee was the wide receiver who received all the publicity but it was sophomore Nelson Agholor who caught a team leading 6 touchdown passes for over 900 yards in 2013. The Trojan defense loses sack artist Devin Kennard (9 sacks in 2013) but do return junior defensive tackle Leonard Williams who recorded 74 tackles, 6 sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss last season. USC will need to reload a little bit on the defensive line but USC returns 7 starters on defense and should improve on their already impressive 21.2 yards per game.

Junior QB Cody Kessler should improve his game under new Head Coach Steve Sarkisian.
Junior QB Cody Kessler should improve his game under new Head Coach Steve Sarkisian.

The Trojans can’t wait around in 2014 as they open the season at home with a 2013 Las Vegas Bowl rematch with Fresno State followed by tough back-to-back road games against the 11th ranked Stanford Cardinal and a cross-country trip to play Boston College. USC does dodge Oregon and Washington from the Pac-12 North but road games at Arizona and Washington State will be tricky. The month of November begins with a bye week followed by a home Thursday night home game against California before the very tough final two regular season games: UCLA in the Rose Bowl and a home game against Notre Dame.

New head coach Steve Sarkisian enters a very good situation where the roster may be on the shorthanded side but loaded with talent that is ready to play. One pitfall that ‘Sark could never shake was a poor road record at Washington. The Huskies went 10-19 on the road under Steve Sarkisian and he will need to do better on the road as the Trojan head coach in 2014 and beyond. With all the talent that USC has on the roster and no Oregon on the schedule, the Pac-12 South could come down to the Battle for the Victory Bell against UCLA. Not many major programs have a coaching change after a ten win season but USC is eager to get the new era underway and the Pac-12 as well as the rest of the country had better be ready to.

Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum

Stay logged on to for Team #10 on Monday and tune in to the Southern Football Report every Saturday from 10am-Noon starting on August 23rd! Here is a hint for Team #10: This team’s school colors represent ‘The Light’ and ‘The Truth’. 

#10 – ??????????????????????
#11 – USC Trojans
#12 – LSU Tigers
#13 – Michigan State Spartans
#14 – South Carolina Gamecocks
#15 – Ole Miss Rebels
#16 – Wisconsin Badgers
#17 – Stanford Cardinal
#18 – North Carolina Tar Heels
#19 – Florida Gators
#20 – Texas Longhorns
#21 – Iowa Hawkeyes
#22 – Arizona Wildcats
#23 – Boise State Broncos
#24 – Northwestern Wildcats
#25 – Michigan Wolverines

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