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What Are USC’s BCS Title Hopes Looking Like Now?

Matt Barkley and Lane Kiffin During USC's 21-14 Loss at Stanford

Kyle Terada-US Presswire

Entering the season, it was a foregone conclusion for many that USC would be playing in the 2012 BCS National Championship Game against whichever team came out of the SEC. It was even thought by many that USC had the best chance of ending the SEC’s six-year dominant run of producing national champions. Well, following the Trojans’ upset loss to Stanford 21-14, all of those expectations might have been flushed away.

No one thought getting through the Pac-12 would be easy for USC, but clearly no one thought the Trojans would struggle the way they did against Syracuse during the second week of the season and then follow that win up with a loss at Stanford in week three. That’s the beauty of college football: sometimes, you have to expect the unexpected and now the Trojans must search for answers as to how to salvage their season.

USC head coach Lane Kiffin went on record stating that his quarterback Matt Barkley made some “really poor decisions” and Barkley seconded what his coach said by saying “yeah I made some poor decisions, but that’s why you watch the film and learn from it”. Following the loss, the Trojans watched their ranking in the AP Poll slip from second overall in the nation to 13th while the Cardinals jumped from 21st to ninth.

USC can no longer concern themselves with that loss any more. They must now focus on their next opponent, Cal, and the remainder of their season schedule as well as hoping that several teams ahead of them take some losses too in order to have any shot at getting back into National Title contention.

All isn’t lost for the Trojans’ title hopes and Barkley’s Heisman dreams. They just have to be much more disciplined than they have been all season and win the remainder of their games this season–not to mention that Barkley has got to put up huge stats in the process.

Winning out the rest of the way could be a problem. They still have to face #22 Arizona on the road (Oct. 27), #3 Oregon at home (Nov. 3), #19 UCLA on the road (Nov. 17) and then #11 Notre Dame (Nov. 24). By the way, Oregon, UCLA and Notre Dame all look really, really good so far this season.

If they do get through that gauntlet unscathed, then they’ll have to probably beat one of those tough Pac-12 teams again in the conference title game in December.

Now, if they pull that incredible feat off, then they have a tremendous chance at gaining enough ground in the BCS Standings to get back to a second rank and compete for the National Championship in January. The chances that they’ll be able to do so are slimmer than fiber-optic cable that’s been spliced. But hey, you never know–that’s why they play the games.