With six defensive recruits visiting next week, it's crucial for USC and Lane Kiffin to name a defensive coordinator as soon as possible.
Getting to play in a bowl game allows USC an extra set of December practices that could pay big dividends for young players in 2013.
There are a lot of questions facing USC in 2013, including the play of Max Wittek, Robert Woods' decision to stay or enter the NFL draft and Lane Kiffin's coaching hot seat.
USC fans hoped the issues the Trojans showed early in the season would eventually fix themselves, but USC's loss to UCLA, its fourth this season, served to further expose those shortcomings.
USC's offensive stars in their part in a 38-17 win over Arizona State, but it was the surprisingly dominate play of the defense that really shined.
After coming up short against Oregon on Saturday, USC can only hope to see Oregon again in the Pac-12 title game.
Coming off a bitterly disappointing loss to Arizona, the Trojans find themselves searching for answers as it tries to close out the season on a positive.
With USC's offense coming off a season-best performance and Arizona taking to Rich Rodriguez's spread attack, Saturday's matchup could produce big point totals.
For a team that was growing tired of hearing questions about what was wrong with its offense, Saturday's lopsided win was the perfect tonic.
On a record-setting afternoon, the USC Trojans finally put together the kind of overall game they needed to build momentum for the stretch run.
The Trojans conclude a stretch of four our of five on the road with Saturday's game at Washington.
The Trojans are working hard to fix the offensive line problems that doomed them against Stanford.
Since Matt Barkley announced that he was returning for his senior season, expectations for USC in 2012 have been through the roof. Now it's time to deliver.
USC is back to postseason eligiblity and is ready to compete for titles, something the rest of the Pac-12 is well aware of.
USC Trojans junior safety Nickell Robey, entering his third year as a starter, is fulfilling the role of veteran leader that he long sought.
Two years ago, the NCAA dropped what many thought was the kill shot to USC's program. But the Trojans haven't only survived thus far, but they have thrived in the aftermath.