Apr 14, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans quarterback Matt Barkley (7) gestures in the 2012 spring game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE

Pac-12 Conference Football Preview: USC Trojans (Part 1: Offense)


The 2012 season is going to be possibly the biggest season in USC Trojans history. This is because the Trojans are coming off of a bowl ban that was issued because of what Reggie Bush did during his time at USC. During their last season of their bowl ban, USC finished with an overall record of 10-2 and a Pac-12 record of 8-2. The only teams to beat the Trojans last season were the Arizona State Sun Devils and the Stanford Cardinals. The USC-Stanford game from last season will most likely be remembered for years to come as it was an absolutely epic battle where the Cardinals defeated the Trojans after three overtimes by a score of 56-48. The Trojans ended the 2011 season with the best record in their division, but because of their bowl ban were not able to play for the Pac-12 Conference Championship.

The Trojans did really well on offense last season. Here’s a look at the averages they had per game and their rankings compared to the other schools in Division I:

  • Total: 456.8 yards (21st overall)

  • Passing: 298.4 yards (20th overall)
  • Rushing: 162.6 yards (51st overall)

The 2012 season for the Trojans is not about what they lost, but about what they kept from 2011. They returned nine starters on the offensive side of the ball who include: Matt Barkley, Robert Woods, Marqise Lee, Curtis McNeal, Khaled Holmes, Xavier Grimble, Randall Telfer, Kevin Graf, Marcus Martin, and John Martinez.

The biggest of the nine returning starters this season are, without a doubt, Matt Barkley, Robert Woods, and Marqise Lee. Woods and Lee where the top two wide receivers for the Trojans in 2011. Woods recorded 1,292 receiving yards on 121 receptions and 15 touchdowns while Lee recorded 1,143 receiving yards on 73 receptions and 11 touchdowns. The 2011 season was Lee’s very first season in college football.

Matt Barkley is the one player on offense for USC who has the most hype circling around him entering the 2012 season. Barkley had a nice 2011 season where he recorded 3,528 passing yards on 308 completions, 39 passing touchdowns, and seven interceptions. This is going to be a huge senior season for Matt Barkley. This is because the USC Trojans are not only heavy favorites to win the Pac-12 Conference and the BCS National Championship, but Barkley is a heavy favorite to win the 2012 Heisman Trophy.

Barkley was asked about competing for a National Title and what is means for the team overall. Barkley responded:

“Every goal, I think, is to win every game and go all the way. For this year, I think we both feel, and a lot of us feel on the team, that it’s the most realistic goal, and that’s not easy by any means.”

 

If having their starting quarterback and top two starting wide receivers returning for the 2012 season isn’t enough, the USC Trojan snagged one of the biggest players from the Penn State Nittany Lions. Silas Redd decided to transfer from Penn State to USC after the NCAA sanctions that were announced after the Penn State scandal. Last season, Redd recorded 1,241 rushing yards on 244 attempts, and seven rushing touchdowns for the Nittany Lions. The most important aspect in which Redd will bring to the table for the Trojans in 2012 will be taking some pressure off of Matt Barkley and the Trojans’ passing game.

The USC Trojans will enter the 2012 season ranked #3 in the pre-season polls (#1 in the ESPN Power Rankings).

For more stories on USC, check out the Reign of Troy.

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Tags: Arizona State Sun Devils Bcs National Championship Heisman Trophy Marqise Lee Matt Barkley Pac-12 Pac-12 Conference Pac-12 Conference Championship Penn State Nittany Lions Penn State Sanctions Reggie Bush Robert Woods Silas Redd Southern Cal Stanford Cardinals USC USC Football USC Trojans