The USC vs. Washington game on Saturday might have slipped off of the radar of some college football fans, but not those of the USC Trojans. The current USC team is still playing under the cloud that Reggie Bush created for the school, and even with how good the 2010 USC Trojans are, they aren’t bowl-eligible this year or next. It means that even if the Trojans can win the Pac-10 Conference, they aren’t going to advance to any postseason play. That doesn’t mean these kids don’t want to go undefeated, though, and games like Saturday’s against Washington take on more meaning.
Last year the USC Trojans were returning a pretty good team for coach Pete Carroll, and they were ranked No. 3 early on in the season. That was when they headed up to Seattle to play the Washington Huskies, expecting to beat a team that had posted the worst record in college football history during the 2008 season. These Huskies pulled one of the biggest upsets we had seen in quite some time, winning 16-13 and sending the Trojans into a funk that they would not escape for the rest of the 2009 season. USC finished the year 9-4, and ended up tied for fifth in the Pac-10 Conference standings.
Now USC gets to host the Washington Huskies on Saturday, Oct. 2, and there isn’t a player on that roster who wouldn’t like to exact some revenge for what took place in 2009. The Huskies are sporting quarterback Jake Locker, one of the players expected to go early in the 2011 NFL Draft, but the Huskies have also lost two tough games to post a 1-2 record thus far. USC is again 4-0, looking to move up in the AP Top 25, and they would like to start distancing themselves from other teams in the Pac-10 standings. USC beat Washington State last weekend, and is currently tied with three other schools at 1-0.
The USC vs. Washington game is going to come down to quarterback play, with USC quarterback Matt Barkley trying to keep pace with Locker each step of the way. Barkley already has 12 touchdown passes and a very nice quarterback rating of 166.65 this year. Barkley also didn’t play in the 2009 game against Washington, so he presents something new for the Huskies defense to stop. Don’t count out these Huskies, though, because they can certainly play good football when they put it all together.
The USC-Washington game is Saturday at 5 p.m. on ESPN2, and should provide a good look at a USC team that is much better than people are admitting.