We have finally come to the end of our Notre Dame opponent previews with a familiar foe and our biggest rival:
USC Southern Cal.
The sanctions are over as is the Lane Kiffin era. The Trojans are climbing their way back to full strength with former Washington head coach, Steve Sarkisian at the helm.
Let’s find out what’s in store for the end of the 2014 Irish campaign.
Previous Opponent Previews:
- North Carolina
- Florida State
- Arizona State
Vitals[table “” not found /]
Offense[table “” not found /]
Pop quiz: who was Southern Cal’s leading receiver in 2013? If you answered Marqise Lee, you would be wrong. That would be Nelson Agholor who returns to the Trojans this season as to Southern Cal’s top two rushers, Javorius Allen and Tre Madden.
Simply put, Southern Cal is still loaded with talented weapons on offense. That was never their issue in 2013, consistency was. The Kiffin and Orgeron swap had them looking for identity all season. The Trojans never hit their stride and it showed throughout a simply terrible season.
With Cody Kessler returning to the helm again this season, Sark has a chance to lead the Trojans back to a level of offensive excellence that they are used to.
Don’t let 2013 fool you, this is a dangerous offensive unit.
Defense[table “” not found /]
One thing that was never an issue for Southern Cal last season: their defense. In fact, if it wasn’t for their defensive performances, the season could’ve been far worse.
The huge F/+ adjustment shouldn’t be a big surprise, especially when you consider that the inept offensive continued to put these guys out on the field continuously.
The defense only loses four starters; however, they are being replaced some solid talent. To put it another way, the depth has slowly started to return for Southern Cal.
What to Expect
With Sark having all season to prepare and work this talented Trojan squad, this will rank right up there with Florida State in terms of difficulty. That isn’t hyperbole in the least, that is my 100% honest-to-God opinion.
Of course, there is also the small matter of this being ND/USC which will crank the intensity up on this game to a level that only ND/Michigan will match in 2014.
This will be a very, very hard game for the Irish to win. The offense will face a solid defense and the young ND defense will face on of the most talented offensive units in the nation. It won’t be as big of an uphill battle as Florida State will be, but make no mistake Irish fans, this ain’t Kiffin’s group of failure any more.
Study Your Enemy
I recommend checking out the following USC sites:
- Conquest Chronicles (SBNation)
- Reign of Troy (FanSided)
- The Ripist Blog (Official)
- Inside USC with Scott Wolf