I’ve got a bunch of words for all of the sports writers, flip-floppers, and folks that have jumped off the bandwagon and completely abandoned the Trojans this season. But I’ll start with a very couth and sophisticated two: blow me. I’m really tired of hearing, “What’s up with your team?”, or “How does it feel that the USC dynasty is over?” Look folks, it’s really hard to win week in and week out when your the starting lineup you began the season with looks like Swiss cheese, but even still, the dominance USC has enjoyed over the last 5 years is hardly over. Here’s a note from USC’s weekly release:
Already this season, 10 starters or projected starters have missed games with injuries: S-CB Josh Pinkard (5 games – done for the year), C Matt Spanos (3 games), TB C.J. Gable (2 games – done for the year), LB Brian Cushing (2 games) Pre-season All-American, CB Shareece Wright (1 game), OG Chilo Rachal (1 game), C Kristofer O’Dowd (1 game), CB Cary Harris (1 game), WR Patrick Turner (1 game), TB Stafon Johnson (2 games), and TB Chauncey Washington (1 game). Pinkard and Gable have season-ending injuries. And the last two weeks we added a few more: QB John David Booty (1 game), MLB Rey Maualuga (3 quarters Saturday with concussion) Pre-season All-American, OT Sam Baker (3 quarters Saturday with high hamstring) 2 time first team All-American, and RG Zack Heberer (?).
Out of this entire list, I really hope that everyone returns and is healthy. But I do hope that John David Booty stays on the sideline. I rooted for Sanchez to take the spot Leinart vacated, and last year called for Booty’s job multiple times, especially after his losses at Oregon State and UCLA. Make no mistake, the team certainly has been beatable and continues to show weaknesses, but Booty’s inability to show up in clutch situations means he’s not the one to lead this team.
So, for all you yahoos out there trying to say that USC’s dynasty is over, I say, it’s going to be fun watching you eat your words in the coming years. USC isn’t going anywhere. Their depth is ridiculous, especially at the talent positions. They need to get their O-line and linebacking corps healthy soon, and if they can, they’ll be back in the hunt. When this team is healthy, they are dangerous.
It’s a crazy year so far for sure; from Appalachian State over Michigan in the big house, to upset Saturday which saw 5 top ten teams topple, SC getting shocked last weekend in the Coliseum by unranked and unnoticed Stanford, to this weekend watching numbers 1 and 2 LSU and Cal, respectively, fall to teams they should have beat handily. No one is safe…save for maybe South Florida that has already beaten its truly tough opponents.
Who knows what the rest of the year has in store. Tough games on the road in top 10 ranked Cal and Oregon, and top 15 ranked ASU, and rarely is a game between USC and Notre Dame ever easy in South Bend, regardless of how the two teams have fared all season. Sanchez will grow up exponentially as he tucks experience and snaps under his belt, and hopefully this weekend will be more of a coming out party for the young future Trojan QB.
Oh yeah, one last note: if you are one of the folks that jumped on the bandwagon and have since jumped back off, please, just stay off. Go start espousing UCLA as the new LA team to beat or spend your time telling us that the SEC is the tougher league. USC is far from done with this streak of dominance, and I think they’re going to right the ship with a couple of tough wins through the latter part of this season. But whether they do or don’t, I stand by them, as I have for the past 25 years as a cognizant fan.