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USC Football

What Should Have Been Alabama Week

September 7, 2020

Josh An

In virtually any other year, September 5th, 2020, the beginning of the USC football season, would’ve been a great day for the Trojan faithful.  An opportunity for the Trojan family to gather, tailgate, and see friends you haven’t seen for months.  An opportunity for a new staff to prove that the offseason optimism was more than just hype.  An opportunity for the players to show that SC is indeed still the blue blood that can dominate the West Coast.

I don’t know whether SC would have beaten Alabama, although I do feel very confident the Trojans definitely wouldn’t have gotten blown out like they did 4 years ago.  What I do know is that COVID-19 deprived all of us: fans, players, and staff from the opportunity to find out.

Like many other supporters, the last few weeks have been so strange for me.  The beginning of the fall semester usually means that football is back and that a new year is beginning.  Instead, many of us are sitting in front of our laptops watching Zoom lectures and connecting with our friends virtually.  For a while, it looked like there was no hope.  Then, the Pac-12 made an announcement.

The partnership with Quidel represents a step forward for the conference. While Commissioner Scott refused to say a lot at the Zoom presser, he did acknowledge that the increased access to testing and fast results are a huge step forward for the Pac-12’s football hopes. There’s still a few hurdles to overcome(ex: California limiting USC’s practice activities) but there’s no doubt this is a positive. Here’s to hoping this is the jumpstart the conference can use so that the athletes can safely play the sports they love as soon as possible.

Marc Kulkin

USC’s 2020 season was scheduled to kick off against Alabama this past Saturday.  A sort of redemption tour, and the perfect opportunity to show the rest of the country the Trojans were back...again.  

I don’t need to remind everyone of what happened the last time USC and Alabama took the field together.   The Trojans lost.   In fact, the last time the Trojans looked like they were ready to play the Crimson Tide, they embarrased themselves.  Those were not my choice of words to describe the butt whooping...Those were the words of then USC captain and starting quarterback Max Browne. 

The concerns going into the game then was the Trojans were starting a new quarterback, and what the offense would look like against a Nick Saban coached defense?   The Crimson Tide entered the game with a question mark at the quaterback poition too, however, they also had a returning defensive roster filled with NFL draft picks .  Four years later the tide has turned and USC was entering the game with an identity on offense lead by a Heisman candidate playing QB.  

Would USC’s new defense with veteran leadership under Todd Orlando be enough to give the Trojans the edge?   Assuming Mac Jones was the starting signal caller Alabama, would the Trojan defense force, Saban, to throw former Trojan commit Bryce Young into the mix, ala, Jalen Hurts?  We’ll never know.

We do know Kedon Slovis in year-2 under Graham Harrell’s offense was looking forward to the Crimson Tide’s new defensive starting secondary...even with the return of Dylan Moses to help bolster the Tide’s young defense.

Four years ago the season opened with the USC taking a hard lesson behind the woodshed.  It was a lesson learned.  USC made a change at quarterback and finished 180 degrees from where it started on the same national stage although with a different outcome four months earlier.  

There were some hard lessons learned then and the same can be said in 2020 with COVID being the teacher  

The Trojans may or may not have had their butts handed to them in 2020 by the Crimson Tide,   We’ll never know.   However, last week there was some hope given to USC and her fans...there is potentially still a Rose Bowl opportunity four months later.

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