Joey Kaufman and I discuss USC’s ranking in the CFP poll, I criticize the Pac-12 Conference for its clown-like decisions and we make our USC-UCLA game predictions.
The first thought on USC’s schedule is the back-to-back road games with Stanford and Texas could have a huge impact on the season. The next two games that stand out are road games with Arizona (Khalil Tate) and Utah (have to be better next season).
Then comes the season-ending swing with UCLA and Notre Dame. Whatever predictions I might make depend on whether Sam Darnold comes back, of course.
USC’s 2018 schedule has been announced and the Coliseum will host another week night home game as the Trojans host Washington State on Friday, Sept. 21. USC also gets a bye next after Game 5.
Entire Pac-12 schedule is after the jump:
USC can beat UCLA without making corrections from last week but it would be a lot easier if it did. Excerpt:
1. Control Jack Jones: In the past two games, cornerback Jack Jones received unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. USC coaches have been unable (or unwilling) to get Jones to play with composure.
“It’s not high school anymore, nobody cares what you say after the play,” USC secondary coach Ronnie Bradford said in reference to Jones’ penchant for trash talking.
“Obviously, we’ve had some good conversations about that,” defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast said about Jones’ penalties.
Does anyone believe Jones will change for the emotional crosstown rivalry?
So Western Michigan lost to Northern Illinois tonight and is 6-5 overall. That’s fine for them. But where are all the USC fans who tweeted me that Western Michigan would go 11-1 because they gave the Trojans a good game?
How did that performance hold up?
Western Michigan was tied with USC, 28-28, in the fourth quarter and 28-28 with Northern Illinois in the fourth quarter.
A fairly uneventful practice today. Backup quarterback Matt Fink (pictured) missed practice with a sprained knee. But he is expected to be available for the UCLA game. Walk-on Holden Thomas got a lot of reps while Jack Sears apparently focused on the scout team.
If Sam Darnold were to get hurt, and Fink were unable to play, Jalen Greene could always be the QB if USC did not want to burn Sears’ redshirt year.
Meanwhile, defensive tackle Kenny Bigelow is transferring to another school for a sixth year of eligibility. That means the “story” about how he “retired” a few weeks ago was just a cover.
Unhappy USC is ranked No. 11 in the latest College Football Playoff rankings? Let’s see:
Quality wins: USC has not beaten a team currently ranked in the top 15.
Quality losses: Washington State and Notre Dame are ranked in the top 15 but USC lost by 35 points to the Irish.
Eye test: Western Michigan, Texas, Cal, Oregon State, Utah, Arizona, Colorado. Did I miss any other games where USC won but looked ugly doing it? Oregon State was a 38-7 victory but USC might have lost to a .500 team that day.
Tony Bland pleaded not guilty in New York today to four charges from the FBI investigation into alleged bribes he took for an aspiring sports agent and financial advisor.
By the way, USC has not announced what recruits it signed to letters of intent. USC usually waits longer than other schools. But this is worth keeping an eye on to see if USC signs all three of its verbal commits. Remember, the federal charges said two players’ families received money and only De’Anthony Melton has been suspended.