This is a pretty decent write-up from afar. I don’t know if it’s all THAT accurate, of course, and there are some errors in some stats and classes of incoming players, but that’s to be expected. Anyway, an honest look at the ’05 season from a USC point of view:
Personally, I think we’re a 9-10 win team waiting to happen. The Phil Steele line of the number of returning starters is true for us. If we return 14+ starters from the previous season, we win 10 games. Less than 14? Less than 10 wins. Last year we only returned 6 starters from the 2003 squad. This year? 15 starters are back. I’m not ready to predict 10 wins, but I do believe that 3-0 OOC record followed by 6-2 in-conference is possible. The safer pick is 5-3 in conference, 3-0 OOC for an 8-3 record and trip to El Paso, based on tiebreakers?
One thing that stands out about the 2005 schedule? The lack of a “get healthy” bye week. It’s the 3 OOC games, then a bye before the Beavs. That’s a run of 8 Pac-10 games in 8 weeks. That could be bad news as the season wears on, and if anyone should suffer an ankle sprain or a tweaked hammy where a week off could do wonders, well, just cross your fingers that things work out. It really feels like a big return to winning football this year, and you’d just hate to see it ruined by the injury bug!