Sunday's NFTC at Redondo Union High School attracted some of the best football players in the west, many of whom are high on USC's prospect lists.
Now that USC has a defensive coordinator, Lane Kiffin has the offseason to finish recruiting, figure out play-calling and bring a physical mentality back to the Trojans.
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.
Notre Dame's ability to master the details, and USC's inability to take care of the little things, is why the Irish are going to the national title game and the Trojans have a fifth loss.
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.
Still reeling from losses to Arizona and Oregon, the USC Trojans must brace for fresh challenges from high-scoring Arizona State and UCLA.
After coming up short against Oregon on Saturday, USC can only hope to see Oregon again in the Pac-12 title game.
While USC's offense was prolific and the Trojans kept fighting back, they were a step behind No. 4 Oregon at all times in the Ducks' 62-51 victory Saturday.
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.
USC might have its 2013 recruiting class filled right now, but recent developments with Max Redfield underlines the necessity for the coaches to keep recruiting hard.
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 have plenty of star talent to lead the way for the remainder of the season but for the team to reach their goals it will need to rely on an unexpected contributor at some point.
Preseason expectations had USC hoping to ride a veteran OL while riding out growing pains from a young DL. The first four games haven't exactly played out in that way.
A look back on the first four games of the Trojans' 2012 season and a look at what's to come.
A look at how the newcomers on USC's roster have done during the first four games of 2012.