Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 11/10/12
The USC Trojans’ dream season has run off the rails, but while the three-loss Trojans won’t be in the BCS title game, they still have a shot to end the year in Pasadena in the Rose Bowl. To get there, they’ll have to put their focus back on the field and away from the hype and distractions that have turned their once-promising season into a disappointment. The Trojans host the Arizona State Sun Devils at home this afternoon. USC lost badly in Tempe early last season, and they’ll be looking to redeem that loss, as well as the entire 2012 season. The Trojans haven’t lost three games in a row in more than a decade, but they won’t get an easy win over the Sun Devils, who are seeking to avoid a four-game losing streak. The biggest area in which USC needs to improve is, obviously, defense. The Trojans surrendered 1,318 yards and 97 points in their last two games, losses to Arizona and Oregon. The defensive line, which had been strong until recently, allowed the Ducks’ Kenjon Barner to rush for 321 yards last Saturday night, while the secondary continued its season-long struggles. The Trojans also need to keep penalties to a minimum. USC was the most-penalized team in the nation heading into the Oregon game, but they drew just three flags last week. Unfortunately, it didn’t make a difference because the defense was such a mess. The offense has gotten into a better rhythm in the last few games, accounting for more than 600 yards and 51 points last week, but there’s still plenty of room for improvement. Quarterback Matt Barkley must improve his decision-making. The preseason Heisman favorite has three more interceptions already this year than in all of 2011, and he’s often looked out of sorts under pressure. Sophomore receiver Marqise Lee has been a one-man highlight reel for the Trojans in the last two games. The school, realizing that Lee, not Barkley, is their best Heisman candidate, put out a highlight video trumpeting Lee’s immense talent and accomplishments this year. He’ll have a lot of people watching to see if he really is as good as advertised, including his father, who has had an on and off relationship with the USC receiver and will be attending his first-ever Trojans game. USC’s task in this game is to move forward, and the team has to do so by shutting off the outside noise – Heisman talk, questions about Coach Lane Kiffin’s job security, this week’s recent controversy about the school getting fined and a student manager getting fired for deflating footballs – and putting the past behind them. It’s the only way to save their season – and it might be the only way for Coach Kiffin to fend off the critics who say he’s not the man to lead the Trojans back to the top.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

49ers OC: Kaepernick didn’t regress as much as believed

John Calipari may coach Kentucky until he is 73

Eric Berry cleared to practice with Chiefs

WATCH: Pedro Martinez's number retired in ceremony

Mets reliever Jenrry Mejia suspended 162 games for PEDs

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Brady told staff to hand copy of game ball rules to officials

Phillies agree to send Jonathan Papelbon to Nationals

Report: Russell Wilson to end contract negotiations Friday

Report: Brady authorizes NFLPA to appeal his case in court

NFL, NFLPA reduce Le'Veon Bell suspension

Tim Brown: Cardinals new coach Jen Welter is 'tough as nails'

Luther Campbell jabs FSU coach over decommitment

WATCH: Royals infielders combine for incredible play

Cowboys DE Jeremy Mincey to hold out of training camp

Terry Bollea's self-destruction: Hulkamania as social construct

Lou Holtz: ND has 'legitimate chance' to make playoff

Golfer Billy Hurley III asks for help finding missing father

Dismissed Clemson DE tweets he hates cops after arrest

Smith to report to camp, no charges filed for child abuse

Angels stockpile outfielders, acquire Murphy and DeJesus

Penguins trade Brandon Sutter to the Canucks

Ronda Rousey willing to fight Miesha Tate a third time

Mexico fires coach for alleged brawl after Gold Cup win

College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

NFL upholds Tom Brady's suspension, legal battle likely

Cardinals hire first female NFL coach

Larry Bird: Michael Jordan would kill me in 1-on-1 now

Seau family: HOF broke their word

Kobe to see time at power forward next year

Mike Pettine not ruling out Manziel

Galette appears to unload on Payton

Dez Bryant in 'financial distress' before signing new deal

Top 10 CFB coaches on the hot seat

Was Popovich close to retiring last year?

Kyle Busch continues historic run with Brickyard win

WATCH: Mike Trout HR lands in 'Trout Net'

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker