Close menu
2021 USC Trojans: Are They Ready to Make a Run to the Top?
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

2021 USC Trojans: Are They Ready to Make a Run to the Top?

USC looks ready to contend for the Pac-12 title in 2021. They return 16 starters from a 5-1 team that was able to win a couple of games they probably shouldn’t have. There will be the usual drama surrounding Coach Todd Helton’s job security and will that be a distraction and cause problems. The talent level looks good enough if it plays to it’s potential. Plus they dodged Oregon and Washington, the two best teams in the North division.

Offense: QB Kedon Slovis is back after leading the Trojans to three comeback victories in the 4th quarter. He averaged 320 yards per game with 17 touchdowns in just six games. He clearly has talent but needs better protection from an offensive line that allowed 2.5 sacks per game, one of the worst stats in the nation. Four starters return upfront and they are being counted on to be much better. Running the football which has been a trademark in the past at USC, needs to get much better. Vavae Malepeai has rushed for 1,500 career yards and Texas transfer Keaontay Ingram brings a ton of experience with him. Drake London leads a talented receiving corps.

Defense: The defensive line played well last year allowing just 3.2 yards per rush while totaling 2.5 sacks per game. Pass rusher Drake Jackson is back to add to his 17 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks. Five-star defensive end Korey Foreman is ready to break out and the interior guys are also experienced. The secondary has Chase Williams and former Texas safety Xavion Alford. Linebackers Ralen Goforth and Kana’i Mauga are back with plenty of experience. The defense needs to take the next step if the Trojans are truly back.

Non-Conference Schedule:

9/4 San Jose State

10/23 at Notre Dame

11/27 BYU

The non-con schedule is difficult and also weird in how it is strung out. San Jose State is coming off a good season and they won’t be a pushover. The Notre Dame game is always a good one and BYU had an excellent team last year. Certainly not an easy draw for the Trojans.

Conference Schedule:

9/11 Stanford

9/18 at Washington State

9/25 Oregon State

10/2 at Colorado

10/9 Utah

10/30 Arizona

11/6 at Arizona State

11/13 at California

11/20 UCLA

As mentioned previously, USC doesn’t play Oregon or Washington from the North. Their home schedule has must wins against Oregon State and Arizona. The crosstown rivalry game with UCLA is at USC and they need that one too. Stanford and Utah will be key games and go a long way in determining USC’s championship hopes. Road games at Washington State and California are must wins and the Colorado trip is always tough. The biggie is a date in the desert with Arizona State which might decide the whole shooting match.

Summary: USC seems primed to win the Pac-12 South. They have enough talent and the schedule is where they need it to be. Will they be able to play consistently and not slip up like they have in the past few years? And will an early loss put the pressure on Todd Helton and the drama cause the Trojans to disintegrate?

Predicted Finish: 1st Place in the Pac-12 South

Overall Record: 10-2

Join the Inner Circle

Sign up for exclusive 10% discount on orders, plus be the first to access our daily free and premium horse racing picks, articles, podcasts, and more!

Sign Up