The 3-1 USC Trojans of 2012 have so far been mostly disappointing.
Going from a preseason ranking in the top 2, to dropping a lackluster game to an unimpressive Stanford Cardinal.
Then rounding things out with an uninspired win over the Cal Bears.
This Thursday, the Trojans travel to face a 2-2 Utah Utes squad that has had problems of it's own including a major setback in a 37-7 loss to Arizona State.
Both teams have had a bye week to iron out some of the wrinkles and allow tired players to rest. What should fans expect to see that perhaps they hadn't anticipated? Find out with the following crystal ball report:
1. Matt Barkley will be sacked, perhaps a lot. It's no secret that the USC offensive line has had some issues, especially with the injury to key front man, center Khalid Holmes.
The Utes' defense is no doubt aware that if they can contain Barkley, their job will be a lot easier. Expect to see a lot of blitzes as Utah attempts to throw the USC quarterback off his game. However, with that being said, see prediction No. 2.
2. USC will reignite the passing game. The Trojans' star receivers, Robert Woods and Marquis Lee, have been mostly non-factors through the last two games despite stellar production against Hawaii and Syracuse.
Utah must rush five or six and may get to Barkley, but that means that Woods and/or Lee will likely be in single coverage. Any coach would love to have either one of the pair in that position. Expect to see some big passing numbers and more touchdown receptions than any game so far this year. Which leads to prediction No. 3.
3. USC will win big and post the highest point total of the season so far. USC head coach, Lane Kiffin, is no dummy. He knows adjustments weren't made when they could have been and some questionable plays were called against Stanford and Cal.
He's had a couple of weeks to work on it and he will. In addition, the Utes are a fairly one-dimensional team that relies heavily on their ground game. USC's one consistent bright spot has been it's defensive line who has stuffed opposing runners with a vengeance.
The Trojans' defense will shut down the Utah running game and force the pass. That's an automatic win for USC as the Utes had three turnovers against ASU and will likely not be able to survive through too many three and outs against a fired up USC offense.