The college football season is less than five weeks away and the money that I traditionally waste on preseason college football magazines have already began to collect dust in my office and has gotten lost amongst the pile of more recent sports material that I have accumulated in my bathroom.
Before you laugh or roll your eyes I am sure that I am not alone in this traditional wasteful accumulation of sport magazines that were once a must have for avid sports fans who were in need of a fix to make it before college football finally arrives.
Each summer so-called experts boldly tout Heisman locks and their pre-season favorites to hoist the crystal ball at season’s end. But each year so many of their predictions are wrong and their alleged locks for gridiron dominance end the season unranked and playing in third-tier bowls. As the countdown to the college football season begins stay tuned as I inform you why several pre-season favorites will NOT hold up the Sears National Championship Trophy at the end of the season.
LSU was discussed last week (http://wp.me/p25Pa3-bt). Next up, Preaseason Favorite #2, USC Trojans:
There was a time not too long ago that USC was THE premiere program in college football loaded with a bevy of future NFL prospects up and down their depth chart. USC had such an embarrassment of riches that second stringer Matt Cassell was drafted by the New England Patriots despite never taking one college snap in four years.
However, due to NCAA sanctions the glory of back to back championships and multiple Heisman winners are all but distant memories. But with the Trojans now eligible for postseason play the expectations for the USC Trojans lead by Heisman favorite Matt Barkley could not be higher.
The Trojans will have no problem on offense returning two 1,000 yard wide receivers in Robert Woods and Marqise Lee; two 1,000 running backs in Curtis McNeal and recent Penn State Transfer, Silas Redd. The firepower on the offensive side of the ball will certainly give defensive coordinators nightmares.
Despite this impressive offensive firepower booking reservations to the 2013 BCS National Championship in Pasadena California would be a tad bit premature. Last year the Trojans defense ranked 54th in total defense. Although the defense possessed the talent to be dominant, they were very inconsistent at times last season.
The Trojan defense are led by their All-Americans safety TJ McDonald and feisty undersized cornerback Nickell Robey. But when your best players on defense are in the defensive secondary there are reasons to be deeply concerned. These concerns on defense are magnified when there is very little depth along the defensive line and in the linebacker corp. Last year the Trojan defense was littered with injuries which forced a number of inexperienced players into action.
In the game of football, injuries are an unavoidable element that all championship caliber programs must overcome to hoist the crystal ball at the end of the season. How the Trojans respond when the inevitable injury bug strikes will ultimately determine how the Trojans finish the season.
The Trojans have a championship caliber offense that will operate like a thing of beauty, but it will be the defense which will ultimately determine what the Trojans will be playing for at season’s end. Will the defense sputter? Will Matt Barkley end the SEC’s BCS Championship streak? Stay tuned… I know I will – A. Denmark (@eatdrnkslpsprtz)