USC down but not out
USC will continue to move forward in pursuit of a national championship, though the walk is less comfortable than it once was. The team now treads upon eggshells, after dropping from perfection last weekend. The Associated Press lowered the Trojans to No. 13, and likewise, the Coaches to No. 12.
But though the program lost its first game in 2012, it still retains hope. It remains within striking distance of a BCS chair, and has a schedule remaining that can usher it towards a seat.
Style points are now critical for a team that can ill afford a further fall in the polls. USC must win impressively in each outing, even if it means the unsportsmanlike embarrassment of an opponent. But style points are best achieved by defeating ranked programs, and the Trojans have several remaining on the upcoming schedule.
The team will need a little help to crawl its way back to the top, but can start by securing those all important BCS quality wins with victories over Arizona, Oregon, UCLA, and Notre Dame. The four are currently ranked in the top 25, with the Ducks in the top 10. The Trojans’ only loss came on the road at Stanford, who is also ranked. USC can add another ranked opponent by winning the Pac 12 south and drawing the top team from the north in the conference championship game, something it wasn’t allowed to do last year.
Winning is the main ingredient of this championship stew, but to gain recognition it must be seasoned with style. Complete the task, and the Trojan resume is greater than the one allowing Alabama a shot at the title last year. Fulfill the task and it makes it very difficult on voters choosing from a pool. Win out, and do it with style, and yesterday is less important than the achievements of a team today.