Rivaled only by the mancrush we have on Nick Saban, the mancrush we have on bashing USC will be discussed here more and more as the season approaches. I rifled through Phil Steele's mag yesterday and read up on the Troy Boys a bit, and here are my thoughts on their schedule. They do have one rather interesting stretch during the season all of us should watch closely this fall: a five game in five week run (Sept. 24-Oct. 22), four games on the road, two traditionally good teams with high profile coaches looking to "make their season" by knocking off numero uno. Sept 24= at Oregon. Autzen Stadium is still regarded a sketchy place for a high profile team to play (ask Michigan, 2003), so you can't disregard this one out of hand if you're looking for a Trojan loss. Ducks should improve on last year (7 starters return on each side), but odds are still against the upset happening here. Oct 1=at Ariz ST. If our Tigers are undefeated at this time, look for the first "LSU/USC common opponent" talk to start here as talk of a possible Rose Bowl clash begins to heat up. All of us here will be very familiar with the Sun Devils by the time this USC game kicks off, so I won't go into details. Again, not the likeliest spot for an upset b/c by this time the Devils will be a little worn out (4th of 5 straight weeks with games against LSU and USC in that mix), but a road game is still a road game for USC... Oct 8=Arizona. Okay, okay, it's USC at home. No upset, but Mike Stoops will have his guys fired up and, if nothing else, should not be an easy touch for USC. Wear 'em down a little in preparation for... Oct 15=at Notre Dame. Here's where I call my shot. Charlie Weiss will hang this as a big target for his team this season. ND gets off to a tough start, with four of their first five games on the road (especially at Pitt, at Michigan, at Purdue). This could be an improved team over last year and still be 2-3 going into the USC game. That USC game, which comes after an Irish off week, will only be ND's second home game of the year. With the exception of Tennessee later in the year, an SC upset could set them up to run the table and finish bowl eligible. Gonna be a good game, I say. Oct 22=at Washington. Of all these teams, the Huskies may be the least talented of the bunch, but it's still a conference road game for USC. If ND doesn't get 'em the week before, a flat SC team could struggle the way they did versus Stanford on the road last year. I think too many prognosticators are too quick to give SC 11 wins for the year. Their schedule is more difficult than it was in 2004, as I've just outlined here. One final note: SC plays at Cal on November 12.