The sun will be moving towards its destination of a beautiful sunset in Hawaii, Aloha Stadium will be filled with 50,000 screaming fans decked out in their Warriors green and black colors, and the USC Trojans will take the field on a beautiful Thursday evening in Honolulu.
Meanwhile back in Los Angeles, thousands of USC football fans will be gathered in their living rooms with friends and family while the charcoal dies out, ready for kickoff on their massive flat screen TV’s. Once the ball is kicked, no one will know what to expect from this team.
The men of Troy started off last season as the AP No. 1-ranked team in the nation and finished with a disastrous 7-6 record. This upcoming season the Trojans are nowhere near the top 25 and outside of wide receiver Marqise Lee, have no proven playmaker.
Will we see the same result of the 2012 team, or will this squad surprise everyone as they did two seasons earlier when the 2011 team went 10-2, leaving the college football world wondering ‘what if?’
If USC is looking to regain their 2011 magic, this year’s schedule is set up for them to surprise many. Although it may not end in a BCS bowl, they can build a solid foundation for the years to come.
The Trojans will start off the season for the fourth time in Hawaii as they look to enjoy a free vacation to the beautiful state and come home with a victory. Norm Chow has shown he is an offensive genius and can get the most out of his quarterbacks, but it will be a tough challenge for them facing USC front seven.
The following three games will be played at the Coliseum as they take on Washington State, Boston College, and close out against Utah State. Washington State head coach Mike Leach will make the USC secondary earn their stripes with his pass heavy offense, but in the end the Trojans should win the game and start the season with a 4-0 record.
Their first real challenge comes in their fifth game as they travel to Tempe, Arizona to take on the Sun Devils. Arizona State finished the 2012 season with a three game winning streak and found their quarterback in Taylor Kelly.
Even with Matt Barkley having a 3-interception game and passing for under 230 yards in the showdown the previous season, USC was able to walk away with a 38-17 victory in 2012. The Trojans should leave Arizona with a 5-0 record and a bit of confidence building.
After a revenge win versus the Arizona Wildcats, an upset win at South Bend, and an easy W against the Utes, the men of Troy are looking like a serious contender with an unblemished 8-0 record.
Soon after the 8th win USC will fly up to Reser Stadium where their Oregon curse started in 2006 a few nights before Halloween. This curse started versus the same Beavers, the Trojans will once again show they cannot win in Corvallis.
Luckily for USC their ninth win should come one week after their first loss, this will keep them grounded for at least one week. Unfortunately the Trojans have started another trend as of late, losing a game to an opponent they should beat.
Although Stanford coach Shaw has proven he is the real deal, USC should be the better team at this point in the season. Stanford over the years has shown that they can beat USC at the Coliseum and will show the Trojans once again.
Prior to their show down with Los Angeles rival UCLA, the team should beat Colorado easily. In their season finale, the Trojans will not forget the 10-point loss the Bruins handed them a year prior. This should be a toss up with UCLA football program now on the rise and solidifying their quarterback position with Brett Hundley. Trojan fans will pack the Coliseum and show the Bruins how intimidating it can be for an opponent to win there. Kiffin and the boys should pull out a victory in this battle of Los Angeles clash.
If all predictions hold up USC should be headed for their second Pac-12 South title (first official) and their first appearance in the Pac-12 Championship. They should be squaring off against first year Oregon coach Mark Helfrich.
This will prove to be a lopsided win for Oregon as the Ducks will prove they are still the kings of the Pac-12 conference and head for the final year of the BCS Bowls.
Although the Trojans will finish conference play with a loss, they will head into the following season with a lot of confidence and have a list of new playmakers to lead the team back to their glory days.
It will be up to Kiffin and his staff to not repeat the same mistake they made during the 2012 season when the team headed into the season with all the talent and hype but failed miserably.