Jeremy Hogue writes that with the No. 1 ranking come higher expectations.
Going into the 2011 season, USC was just hoping to get by. Ten wins later and expectations surpassed, the sky is the limit.
Considering the circumstances in which he took the USC job, and how the Trojans looked early in the season compared to now, Lane Kiffin is as good of a choice for national coach of the year as any.
The Trojans, who ruled the Pac-10 over much of the past decade, want to beat Oregon, the big dog of the present, to establish a future foothold.
While it might feel weird, it's in the best interest of USC fans to root for Stanford the rest of the way. The Cardinal's success could help the Trojans down the road.
USC didn't get the job done on the scoreboard Saturday against Stanford. But don't be surprised if the Trojans pass the Cardinal, and everyone else in the Pac-12, very soon.
For all the flak that Lane Kiffin has taken during his head-coaching career, he deserves that same amount of praise for Saturday's win.
Argue with each other all they want, USC and Notre Dame fans find their teams in similar places entering this year's meeting.
With a tough schedule after the bye week, USC needs to maximize its time and find more impact players.
The loss to Arizona State exposed a lot of USC's warts. How they respond to that against Arizona this week will set the tone for the rest of the season.
A year of working together and learning each other's strengths seems to be helping both Matt Barkley and Lane Kiffin.
USC has the 2-0 start it wanted, but the Trojans seem to be locked in battles with themselves.
USC has a little more depth and a little more talent, but the expectation level probably still is too high.
The fall of the Trojans was swift and ugly, but there are plenty of reasons to believe the program already is climbing again.