USC News: Do Pac-12 Predictions Favor the Trojans over ASU and Utah?

USC has been working hard to ensure it has a bright future moving forward with one of the best-recruiting classes for 2021. While there’s certainly a lot to look forward to in the next year, the Trojans still have to get through the 2020 season which has brought some mixed predictions on how it’ll play out for them. The 2019 season was filled with a lot of ups and downs but as the season went on the team started to catch its stride led by breakout freshman quarterback Kedon Slovis.

USC is still young and is set to bring back much of the talent it had last season. This time around they seem set on challenging Utah, the back to back South Division Champions, for 2020 honors. Those two won’t be the only ones fighting for supremacy as ASU has been projected to top both of them. 

247 Sports’ Brandon Marcello doesn’t buy into the run that USC can have this year. On his projection order of the Pac-12, he has USC slated to finish third behind ASU and Utah in that order. He acknowledges that USC has the talent to do some damage this season but points out head coach Clay Helton will be what holds them back from achieving much. However, the return of offensive coordinator Graham Harrell is overlooked. In his lone year with the Trojans, he transformed the offense and was responsible for helping Slovis in his breakout year. If Helton can rely more heavily on the wisdom and coaching of Harrell and the rest of his staff, I don’t see there being a problem with the Trojans achieving greatness.

In another 2020 Pac-12 prediction, Athlons Sports’ Steven Lassan picked USC to be crowned the South Division champs followed by ASU and then Utah. He points out that the Trojans will have to replace some holes in the offensive line and will need to improve the effectiveness of their defense. However, they have a staff that can change all of that as well as a receiving corp that ranks top in the nation to work with Slovis. The Utes and Sun Devils have problems of their own to fix but they should still challenge the Trojans for the conference title. 

Lastly in CBS Sports’ predictions of the Pac-12 South, they have USC finish on top (10-2, 8-1), the Sun Devils (7-5, 5-4) behind them, and the Utes (8-4, 5-4) placing third. Utah and ASU are just missing too much right now to prove they can overcome USC this upcoming season. ASU’s offense needs more around quarterback Jayden Daniels and Utah lost much of its shutdown defense form last year as well as its quarterback and top running back. Although neither team matches the talent the USC has returning this year, their coaching may be what keeps them alive long enough to give the Trojans a run for their money. 

Clay Helton with the help of offensive coordinator Graham Harrell and defensive coordinator Todd Orlando should be able to steer the Trojans in the right direction this season en route to a Pac-12 South Division title. There’s no doubt they have the talent but can they combine it with the coaching to overcome ASU and Utah? We’ll have to wait and see. 

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