Hawaii vs. USC Preview: The Start Of Unfinished Business
As the college football season inches closer and closer, the excitement continues to build on the USC campus. Trojan fans, students, and players alike are in high spirits with the first game of the season right around the corner. The Coliseum will be rocking once again on Saturday when the No. 1 ranked Trojans host the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors.
Needless to say, expectations are through the roof for SoCal, where arguably the best quarterback in the nation, Matt Barkley, returns for his senior year. It’s championship or bust for the Trojans, who will hit the field with the motto “Unfinished Business” in hopes of putting USC back at the forefront of the college football world. Although this team does not lack talent, there are still some unanswered burning questions that face the Trojans. The offense may be top notch, but does the defense have too many holes? Can USC play physical enough to compete with those big SEC boys? Will the pressure be too great from the get-go – so much so that they won’t be able to make it to the finish line? Only time will tell.
The biggest mistake Barkley and company can make this year is overlooking opponents who on paper, don’t threaten to pose much of a challenge. But a loss is a loss, no matter who it comes to. Hawaii may not be the most impressive team USC sees this year, but preseason polls and predictions won’t matter when it comes time to take the field. The team will still have to go out there and get it done between the lines. The fact that one loss can alter the entire season for USC brings lot of pressure. But as they say, it comes with the territory.
On the other side of things, the Warriors haven’t played on a stage as big as the Coliseum since the Sugar Bowl in 2008. Rest assured they will come out fired up looking to upset the Trojans on national television. The head coach of the Warriors, Norm Chow, was once USC’s offensive coordinator. As a matter of fact, he won two national titles with the Trojans. Granted, it was during a much different time in Trojan history, but the point is, he’s no stranger to the Coliseum. He will have his team primed and ready to perform.
Hawaii has never beaten USC; not even once. The last time these two teams met was in 2010, when Lane Kiffin was making his coaching debut with the Trojans. Both Kiffin and his team have come a long way during these past two years.
The most important keys for the Trojans this weekend? One, establish the run game; we already know what Barkley, Woods, and Lee are capable of through the air. Two, don’t give Hawaii’s offense any hope. Every yard gained by the Warriors will be accompanied by another hater claiming USC’s defense doesn’t have what it takes. And three, get some of the young guys reps, whether it be back-up quarterback Max Wittek, a young receiver like Nelson Agholor, or a rough prospect at the offense line position like Zach Banner.
This is a game for USC that could prove to be either disastrous or quite beneficial. It will give the Trojans a chance to get the juices flowing, work out a few kinks, and finally hit people not wearing cardinal and gold.
September 1st could prove to be the beginning of something special for the Trojans. You can’t win the last game until you win the first, and the Trojan Nation’s quest to complete that “unfinished business” begins now.
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