USC fell to Stanford this weekend in the biggest upset of the season so far, but it's not time to give up on the Trojans just yet. Their loss was not the worst thing that could have happened, believe it or not. USC lost to a ranked team, early on in the season, by a single touchdown.
First off, USC was banged up against Stanford. This isn’t an excuse; it’s a fact. The Trojans were playing without starting center Khaled Holmes and kicker Andre Heidari. Without Holmes, Barkley was out of his comfort zone, having to control the offensive line as well as the rest of the offense. Luckily, Holmes will be returning soon, as he was spotted on the sideline warming up.
As for Heidari, he will be out for the next three weeks after having surgery on his knee. Without Heidari, the offense was forced to take more chances. USC went for it on fourth-and-long fairly often in the Stanford game because it didn't have confidence in the kicking game. On top of that, running backs Silas Redd and Curtis McNeal were both out at points in the game on Saturday. USC wasn’t able to play a fluid game with key figures in its offense missing.
Granted, the loss does make things more difficult for the Trojans. But if you take a look at the their schedule, you'll see why hope still exists. USC is in the PAC-12 - which is the best asset for the Trojans right now. The PAC-12 is on the rise and proving to be a tough conference, with five teams in the latest Coaches Poll. Better yet, USC gets a chance to beat three of those teams (No. 22 Arizona, No. 19 UCLA, No. 3 Oregon). If all goes well, USC will most likely get to play Oregon twice or get a chance at revenge against Stanford in the PAC-12 title game. USC also gets a chance to play No. 11 Notre Dame, a program that is regaining its name. If the Trojans win the rest of their games (beating four/five ranked teams), you better believe they will be in the running for the BCS National Championship.
While the media has already given up on USC as a title contender, the fan base still believes. Don’t count the Trojans out; they will Fight On!