USC-UCLA Breakdown

MORA.USCHere’s my initial view of the USC-UCLA game: Both teams were overrated. Both are inconsistent. The game is really a toss up. But the only noticeable difference is the sideline. Jim Mora seems to find a way to get his team ready for these games. And Clay Helton’s got to go into this game with Justin Wilcox as his defensive coordinator. That’s one hand tied behind your back before kickoff.

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Les Miles Looks Available

Maybe Pat Haden should call the agent for LSU coach Les Miles. He has averaged 10 victories a season and won a national title. Plus he is about to get fired despite being 7-0 last month and having next year’s No. 1-ranked recruiting class according to 247Sports (I know how important recruiting rankings are to many people).

And . . . he will bring Ed Orgeron with him, so everyone will be happy.

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USC Stat Line Of Day

Lost amid the inability of USC to cover Oregon’s receivers or running backs was this stat line for linebacker Olajuwon Tucker: A team-high 9 tackles, including 2.5 for losses (with 1.5 sacks). He now has 18 tackles on the year so half of them came in one game.

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USC Morning Buzz: Trojans Need To Avoid Bottom-Feeder Rap

USC could use a victory over UCLA for many reasons: To snap a 3-game losing streak to the Crosstown Rivals and win the Pac-12 South are the two most prominent.

But how about to stop looking so much like bottom feeders? The Trojans did beat Utah. Big deal. Look at what the Utes have done lately. It’s time for the program to win a big game. If you are tired of four-loss seasons, then USC needs a victory to avoid a five-or-six loss season.

It just needs a victory to avoid the perception that in big games it gets outcoached or outmotivated or was overrated. Full story here

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Sunday Night With Helton

USC coach Clay Helton said tonight the Trojans are going through “growing pains” on shotgun snaps with No. 3 center Khaliel Rodgers. Helton said he is now going 50-50 between the shotgun and under-center snaps. But he said the shotgun is necessary because it makes pass blocking easier.

Helton said JuJu Smith-Schuster was “bouncing around” the McKay Center today but that he has not been 100-percent healthy “from Week 5 on.”

Helton said Smith-Schuster ran a great route on the play where Cody Kessler fumbled, so we will never know what could have happened on the play.

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USC Quick Thought

USC.OREGON.2015USC has two sophomores who are considered special — JuJu Smith-Schuster and Adoree Jackson. And a fair question today is whether USC’s squandered their first two years with a couple four-loss-or-more seasons?

The Trojans could still win two games and go to the Rose Bowl but if they don’t, it will be one more season with two talented players and little to show for it. Just think about how Oregon failed to land Smith two years ago (not a surprise) and USC still goes to Eugene and gets blown out.

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The Rumor Mill

There is a lot of buzz, always surrounding a loss, that USC is going to hire a big-name coach now. The rumor going around is Ravens coach John Harbaugh will be the next coach. I know USC has already reached out to NFL coaches so anything is possible. But right now this is speculation. And I mention it because fans want to know. If USC really wants a big name, Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops would probably be the best first choice.

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USC Morning Buzz: Oregon Loss Encapsulates Much Of Season


Here is my analysis on the USC-Oregon game, which highlighted many things good and bad about this season.

“There was a lack of discipline, with penalties and missed assignments at the worst possible moments. There were the questionable coaching decisions that provided some ridiculous plays when no one appeared to cover Oregon’s receivers.

“But some of that was tempered by the potential of USC, especially when it fought back from a 24-point deficit only to falter in the fourth quarter.” Full story here

Maybe it is only fitting USC suffered its worst loss of the season but remains in control of its Pacific-12 South Division destiny thanks to UCLA’s 17-9 victory over Utah.

“That’s crazy,” USC offensive tackle Chad Wheeler said. “I never thought we’d be in that situation (after) losing a game.”

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