The expectations were enormous for USC coming into the season, primarily on the offensive side of the ball.
There was the dynamic playcalling of Lane Kiffin, who appeared to dial up all the right plays at the right time at the end of last season.
He had his major toys returning. After all, it was supposed to be like a video game. Matt Barkley was the leader out of the gate to win the Heisman trophy. Robert Woods and Marqise Lee were primed to return as the top wide receiving duo in the country.
Four of five offensive linemen returned as well as a 1,000-yard rusher, Curtis McNeal. Another much heralded 1,000-yard rusher, Silas Redd, showed up from Penn State just days before the start of camp.
The expectations were humongous. The last time this team was seen before the start of the season, they were putting up 50 on UCLA. Woods and Lee looked like world beaters with 337 receiving yards between them on 25 catches.
That was the lasting impression heading into 2012.