The trend of an unusual year continues in sports as the Pac-12 has been working on a 10-game conference only schedule for the 2020 season amid rising cases of Covid-19. Essentially the Trojans would be losing their week 1 matchup against powerhouse Alabama as well as Notre Dame. To make up for the loss of those matchups, the Trojans will likely add a game against either Oregon State or Washington State.
What Does That Mean for the Trojans?
While we’ll never know if the Trojans were up to the task of taking on the Crimson Tide, dropping two of their toughest games is clearly an early victory for the Trojans’ 2020 season. After finishing 2019 with a 7-2 record within the conference, USC is set up to improve from last year’s up and down season. The team still boasts loads of talent with many players returning for another year to seize an opportunity to run the South. USC has a budding star in QB Kedon Slovis who is surrounded by one of the top wide receiver corps in the nation. They also brought in new defensive coordinator Todd Orlando to shore up the defense which was part of their woes in 2019.
Such a change in schedule also liberates head coach Clay Helton from being on the hot seat. Many fans have become weary of Helton and have called his coaching into question. Another year of disappointment would’ve likely led to a parting of ways between USC and its head coach. However, with the loss of Alabama and Notre Dame and the addition of another Pac-12 member, Helton’s job may be safe for another year.
Pac-12 South Outlook
There really isn’t a team in the Pac-12 South that matches up against USC this year. Utah lost a majority of its shutdown defense from last year and will have trouble replicating anything close to it. ASU has a very talented QB in Jayden Daniels but he isn’t nearly accompanied by the type of talent that Slovis has. UCLA has some talent to make things interesting but a 4-8 record in 2019 indicates they still have some issues to fix before they’re ready to contend for a conference title.
The field is set for USC to have a successful 2020 season but it’s up to them to get the job done. Their biggest opponent this year may just be themselves.
What do you think of the new conference-only schedule? Let us know in the comments!