USC Ready To Enter ’15 With Legitimate Championship Aspirations

The USC Trojans experienced a fall in college football that no storied program should endure.

Through the departure of Pete Carroll, the loss of a title contender and NCAA penalties, these Trojans have been through it all. None of it has ever fully bogged USC down, though, as the Trojans have remained a winner on the field, with their worst finish being 7-6 since Carroll left.

Things have been looking up even more lately, as the team went 10-4 in 2013 and 9-4 a year ago, securing bowl wins in both seasons. Heading into 2015 with an established arm under center in Cody Kessler leading the way, there is serious hope once again that these USC Trojans could be dangerous players in the race to reach the second College Football Playoff.

Quarterback Cody Kessler seems to like USC’s chances, as he recently suggested that this current rendition of the Trojans works “really hard” and carries the same mentality of the 2002 USC team that initially turned things around for Trojans football. If everything breaks right, Kessler and co. could be ready to take another huge step forward in ’15.

That will surely be easier said than done, as the Trojans have plenty of challenges ahead of them across a tough 2015 schedule. Their season opener against Arkansas State at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum – USC Trojans tickets are just $68.98 on average for this affair – should be a nice cakewalk matchup to help the team gain confidence. The second week brings about another likely win against the Idaho Vandals (Trojans tickets are even cheaper at $66.54), while their first test comes against the rival Stanford Cardinal on September 19, and for that huge game, tickets are averaging $137.83 on the secondary market.

For those fans who can’t get to the game but don’t want to miss a minute of USC football in a year where they could absolutely return to prominence, there are DISH Network sports packages available that feature the Pac-12 Network. Not only will fans be able to catch every USC contest with this subscription, but you can catch any action involving the Pac-12 as well in what is sure to be another thrilling college football campaign.

USC looks to be as built as well as they’ve ever been within the past several years, which could give them a really good chance at starting the season off hot. That might have to include a big win over Arizona State, but if they can get past the Sun Devils, and then stomp the Washington Huskies, they could hit Notre Dame Stadium on October 17 at a perfect 5-0. Their battle with the Fighting Irish is naturally one of their more anticipated games of the season, and the price probably tells you everything you need to know about the hype going into the matchup – a staggering $456.87 on average on the secondary market.

Should USC make it past that tough road game, they’d be 6-0 with some solid wins under their belt and a shot at the national title within reach. The Trojans would then have to make it through possible trap games against the Utah Utes, California Golden Bears, Arizona Wildcats and Colorado Buffaloes. Should they stay unblemished or lose just one or two of those games, they’d enter the stretch run still in the running for a berth in the College Football Playoff.

It’s those final two games of the year that could end up making or breaking USC, as they have a huge showdown at Autzen Stadium with the Oregon Ducks on November 21, and then close the regular season against what figures to be a very good UCLA Bruins squad at home one week later.

Expecting a perfect season and clear path to the national title might be overly ambitious, but the Trojans seem to have the coaching, quarterback play and overall balance to turn in one of their best seasons in a while. The schedule represents some steep challenges along the way, but if USC can prevail, it could be one magical ride that Trojans fans could enjoy, both due to value in Trojans tickets and a possible shot at a college football title. In any event, USC is definitely one of the teams to watch this season.

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Kyle Bunch

Managing Director, Social at R/GA. Co-founder of Blogs with Balls and future owner of the MLB's Austin Bats.

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