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.
The May recruiting period yielded a bonanza for USC, with two top running backs added to an already strong class.
Summer workouts give USC's incoming players a chance to make a case for immediate playing time, with JC transfer safety Gerald Bowman and a pair of Floridians some Trojans to watch.
A year ago, Curtis McNeal was struggling in the classroom and on the verge of losing his spot on the Trojans. Now he's a 1,000-yard rusher on track to graduate.
No one was sure what USC would provide in 2011. What the Trojans provided was a season that will be remembered for a long time.
Not only does the USC-UCLA rivalry divide Los Angeles, but it also divides the households of some players.
Although the win at Notre Dame was huge, a bigger, badder opponent in Stanford arrives in Los Angeles this week.
Loaded at tight end and thin at fullback, someone had to make a move and senior Rhett Ellison is making the most of it, writes Garry Paskwietz.