EUGENE, OR - NOVEMBER 19: Quarterback Matt Barkley #7 of the USC Trojans signals during the game against the Oregon Ducks at Autzen Stadium on November 19, 2011 in Eugene, Oregon. Barkley was 26 of 34 for 323 yards and 4 touchdowns as USC won the game 38-35. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
For the first time since 2008, the USC Trojans are No. 1 in the Associated Press poll. It is also the first time USC was voted No. 1 in the preseason poll since 2007.
With all that being said, the college pundits around everywhere are now doing their rounds with their opinions on the Trojans, but one in particular topic had me almost acid reflux in a way after seeing something totally disturbing.
Comparisons from this offense to the 2005 offense.
Here’s a short, dirty summary of that 2005 offensive juggernaut. The team was led by lefty quarterback, Matt Leinart and the outlier himself, running back Reggie Bush, a duo who combined to accumulate 5,555 yards of offense. That doesn’t include running back Lendale White, or receivers Dwayne Jarrett or Steve Smith.
Those five players alone generated over a million yards of offense, or a number around there (seems like it).
The 2005 team also averaged 49.1 points a game with the ninth hardest schedule in the nation. It was amazing to see this team dismantle opposing defenses, especially when Bush would breeze through the secondary in ease while making opposing team head coaches cringe why they ever became a head coach in the first place.
I don't feel the same way with the 2012 team.
It’s not a knock to them. The 2012 squad features a Heisman trophy candidate in Matt Barkley, whose announcement back in December that he would return to play in his senior year sent waves across the land that USC would be a team to be reckoned with.
Barkley is on his way to establish himself as the best quarterback to ever play at USC. Leinart achieved two rings and second place finish, but he never guided a team through sanctions, and he never started as a true freshman.
Yes, it has been quite amazing in itself to see the evolution of Barkley. From heralded freshman of Mater Dei High School to top NFL prospect, Barkley has achieved Tebow status in college football.
The receiving core of 2012 will be the aspect of this offense that can trump 2005’s. Led by standout receivers Robert Woods and Marqise Lee, whom both were on the Biletnikoff preseason watch list; the duo may be the best one-two punch this season.
Lee and Woods’ production last year bests Jarrett and Smith, 2,417 to 2,231 total receiving yards. This year, Woods and Lee may even eclipse that by a wide margin. Lee didn’t catch on fire till USC’s fifth game last year and Woods is now in full health.
But while the receiving and quarterback position may favor USC’s 2012 squad, let’s not kid ourselves. Only one team had Bush on the roster.
Love him or hate him, Reggie Bush was an unstoppable force that the only team that could stop him in 2005 was himself (See: fourth quarter vs. Texas).
Team 2012 did nab Silas Redd from Penn State to add an additional 1,000+ yard rusher to the team (with the other being Curtis McNeal), but Bush ran for 1,740 yards and grabbed 37 receptions for 478 yards. Add that up and it nearly passes what Redd and McNeal did with different teams combined (2,305 to 2,218).
Wait, I didn’t even add Lendale White’s numbers yet.
Let's not get ahead of ourselves. This 2012 squad isn't close to the 2005 squad on offense...yet.
For more news and notes on the USC Trojans, be sure to read Conquest Chronicles.