USC Football: How Bad Will It Get for the Trojans in 2012 After Loss to Arizona?

Rick McMahan@@RickMcMahanSenior Writer IOctober 30, 2012

After Saturday's loss to Arizona, the remaining question is just how "unfinished" USC's "business" will be in 2012 for this year's version of the men of Troy.

Failing to deliver on the promises of returning quarterback Matt Barkley, the Trojans are left to ponder a scenario that may include at least two more losses in which they will be playing teams that they will be an underdog to.

When Oregon and Notre Dame stroll into the coliseum, they will be playing a USC team that has already fallen well short of the lofty ambitions they set for themselves.

Those goals included a national championship which seemed attainable when they entered the season as many polls' preseason No. 1 team in the nation.

Now the Trojans will simply be hoping to finish the season in a decent bowl game, BCS or not.

It won't be easy.

Now 6-2, USC will be a significant underdog to an Oregon Duck team that not only has steamrolled every opponent set before them this year but also has revenge on their mind after the Trojans beat them at Autzen Stadium last year.

To be certain, any Trojan team that even remotely resembles the one that lost Saturday will get blown out by the Ducks this week.

Then there is Notre Dame in two weeks.

After dispatching Oklahoma on the road last Saturday, the Fighting Irish have proven they are for real.

Combining a dominant defense with an opportunistic offense, Brian Kelly's boys were going to be formidable under any circumstances but now they have the momentum of continued success at their disposal.

Oh yeah, and they will be looking for revenge as well after USC beat them in South Bend in 2011.

The other remaining games—Arizona State and UCLA—also present challenges, although to varying degrees.

Of those two, ASU probably presents the least obstacle to a win as the Trojans get the Sun Devils at home although, once again, it doesn't appear to be the sure thing it did a week ago.

And what about UCLA?

The Bruins are significantly better this year and are sporting a 6-2 record, the same as USC.

More importantly, USC will have to travel to Pasadena, and nothing would make the powder blue and gold faithful more happy than to beat the Trojans in 2012.

So what to make of the remainder of the schedule for USC?

Realistically, based on what we have seen of the Trojans this year, they will likely lose to both the Ducks and Irish.

And while an ASU victory seems reasonable, at this point, its anyone's guess how the UCLA game winds up.

Even if the Trojans sweep the Bruins and Sun Devils, all that means is that the Trojans will get to travel back to Autzen stadium for the Pac-12 championship game.

And that, my friends, likely means another loss.

So reasonably—given the possibilities at hand—the Trojans wind up the 2012 regular season with an 8-5 record.

However, lose to either ASU or UCLA and it could be a pedestrian 7-5 ledger.

Or (shudder), it could be worse.

Hardly what the Trojans—or their legions of fans—envisioned when the season started.


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