When quarterback Matt Barkley made his choice to return for his senior season, the stakes were raised for the USC Trojans. Barkley is back to lead a dynamic offense with wide receivers Robert Woods and Marqise Lee, arguably the best duo of receivers ever at the school. Heading into 2012, Andy Staples of Sports Illustrated ranked the Trojans second in his "way too early" top 25.
"The Trojans have the nation's best returning receiver duo in Robert Woods and Marqise Lee, and the defense brings back rising stars such as linebacker Hayes Pullard and cornerback Nickell Robey," Staples wrote of USC.
The LSU Tigers are ranked No. 1 by Staples, but what is interesting is that the Oregon Ducks are No. 3. Oregon will be the favorite in the Pac-12 North Division, with the Trojans the class of the Pac-12 South Division. Oregon will come to Los Angeles on November 3 to battle USC in what could possibly be a battle of No. 1 vs. No. 2. The two will likely be expected to meet again on November 30 in the Pac-12 Championship Game, at the home site of the team with the best conference record, which could be the winner of that November 3 matchup.
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