Massachusetts Daily Collegian

FBS Preseason Top 10 Countdown: No. 2

By Greg Romagna

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Time to unveil the runner up in my FBS Preseason Top 10 countdown, a team fresh off a postseason bowl ban:

2. USC Trojans

2011 Record: 10-2 (7-2 Pac-12)

Bowl Game: None (Final year of NCAA imposed postseason ban)

Overview: When USC was slammed with a two-year bowl ban prior to the 2010 season due to the improper benefits received by former running back Reggie Bush, it was generally thought that it would take a number of years before the Trojans would be restored to their former glory. Fast forward two years later and USC is in the thick of the national title picture as a serious contender. Quarterback Matt Barkley’s decision to return to school for his senior season is the main reason the Trojans have a chance to capture their first national title since the 2003 season (2004 national title was vacated). USC faces a fairly tough schedule this year, but the return of 19 starters from last year’s 10-2 team will certainly help.

Offensive Player to Watch: Matt Barkley (Senior) – Quarterback

Matt Barkley came into a tough situation at USC as the team was slammed with sanctions prior to the start of his sophomore season. The highly-touted player showed his loyalty however when he decided to stick with the program rather than transferring. Now on the cusp of his senior season, Barkley looks to thrust himself into the conversation of USC football greats by bringing home a national title. In each of his three seasons in L.A., Barkley has increased his touchdown totals (15, 26, 39) while also lowering the number of interceptions (14, 12, 7) he has thrown. Look for Barkley to have a stellar season, as he has the very talented wide receiving duo of Marqise Lee and Robert Woods to throw to.

MCT

Defensive Player to Watch: Dion Bailey (Redshirt Sophomore) – Linebacker

Prior to the 2011 campaign, Dion Bailey was moved from safety to linebacker, so it would have been fair to expect a rocky transition at first. Luckily for USC, that was not the case for Bailey. After the move, he won a starting position and excelled throughout the season. The then-redshirt freshman was the Trojans’ co-leader in tackles with 81, while also registering two sacks and two interceptions. Bailey’s fine season was recognized as he was named the Pac-12 Freshman Defensive Player of the Year while making the All-Pac-12 second team and Freshman All-American first team. Expectations are high for Bailey this year as he has received Butkus Award and All-American team hype.

Key Games: September 15 @ Stanford, October 13 @ Washington, November 3 vs. Oregon,

2012 Prediction: 12-0 (9-0 Pac-12)

Wins: Hawaii, Syracuse, Stanford, California, Utah, Washington, Colorado, Arizona, Oregon, Arizona State, UCLA, Notre Dame

Losses: None

Greg Romagna can be reached at [email protected]

1 Comment

One Response to “FBS Preseason Top 10 Countdown: No. 2”

  1. Matt on August 10th, 2012 6:14 pm

    USC will go undefeated and they will be ranked number 1 by the end of the year

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