So here we go, the best Division I football game of the season possibly will take place next Saturday. And as a USC Trojan fan, I am in no way here to talk trash on the Buckeyes or chuckle about yesterday's - as the media is calling it - lackluster win over Ohio University. Rather, at the moment, I am much much more worried about USC's chances next Saturday than I was at the start of the weekend. Of course I believe USC can win this game and then rout the at-the-moment pathetic looking Pac 10 and play in the BCS National Championships. But really it all depends on next Saturday night. My anxiety will grow as the week goes on. Here are my top 5 concerns for the Trojans next Saturday:
1. Special teams are still a big issue for USC. Joe McKnight displayed difficulty in fielding a punt. Against Virginia, the Trojans appeared very non-chalant on kick-off coverage (OK, with a ridiculus lead on the board maybe I'm being too critical here). Extra-point and FG kicking have not yet faced a challenging situation heading into the most challenging game of the year.
2. Penalties, penalties, penalties. Though it did not matter last weekend, USC was penalized seven times for 70 yards. You can't afford that against Ohio State. And by the way did you see what a Pac-10 official did to Locker at Washnington yesterday? USC is certainly number one at TD celebrations. Will that haunt them next weekend?
3. Terrell Pryor has yet to unleash his talent on a big stage. Perhaps Pryor was held back for a reason yesterday and a new Pryor package hides within the sweather vest of Jim Tressell.
4. USC has yet to have consistent flow at the RB position. Is there amazing talent, size and speed at the running back position for the Trojans? Absolutely. But in a game there still is no one who has proven they can maintain it for four quarters. USC must figure out who the go-to-guy while facing one of the nation's best defenses.
5. You think Ohio University is a laugher, look at UVA. We now realize we learned little about USC's talent in that win over the Cavaliers. Mark Sanchez had a tougher week against his team's scout defense according to the LA Times. Virginia just got by Richmond 16-0 yesterday. I didn't even know Richmond had a football team.
Hopefully, I'm just a little paranoid here. Hopefully, I'm overreacting. But I am certainly concerned about Sept. 13, possibly the make-or-break date for the Trojans national title hopes.GO TROJANS!