Print and Go Back ESPN.com: USC Trojans [Print without images]

Thursday, September 19, 2013
Just how good is the USC defense?

By Steve Bisheff

They’re only college football opinions, but at least they’re all mine:

This is the week we begin to find out about USC’s defense. Has it really improved as much as it has appeared so far? Or has it just looked good against inferior competition? Utah State’s high-powered offense should provide the first clues …

The oddsmakers know. Even with all the Trojans’ gaudy defensive stats, they opened as only 6 1/2-point favorites at home …

USC’s “other” wide receiver, Nelson Agholor, will have a break out game soon. Trust me …

How funny was it watching Lane Kiffin try to race along behind Marqise Lee on that 80-yard TD play against Boston College? Kiffin was so excited he almost dropped his laminated play card …

Tre Madden has been great so far carrying the load for the Trojans at tailback. But every time Justin Davis comes into the game, he makes your pulse quicken a little …

Anyone who doesn’t like watching Johnny Football just doesn’t like football. It’s that simple …

And please, after what Mr. Manziel did against that quality Alabama defense, don’t try to tell me he isn’t the best college player in the country …

Manziel’s wide receiver buddy, Mike Evans (7 catches, 279 yards), isn’t too shabby, either. He could be this year’s Biletnikoff Award winner …

By the way, count me among those who continue to think Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron is underrated. He isn’t as spectacular as Manziel, but all the guy does is win big games …

The Pac-12’s early-season surprise player is Washington tailback Bishop Sankey, who leads the nation with a 184.5-yards-a-game rushing average. Then again, maybe we shouldn’t be shocked, considering he’s run for 1,142 yards in his past seven games …

UCLA’s Brett Hundley couldn’t have looked more cool and composed in the second half at Nebraska, despite those 90,000-plus screaming Cornhusker fans. I know I keep writing this, but the Bruins’ quarterback is a very special player …

And no, that’s not meant to take anything away from UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr, who is playing so far this season the way Jadeveon Clowney was supposed to play …

Michigan needed a last-second defensive stop to avoid an upset by Akron? Really? Just goes to show how difficult it is to prevent a letdown after an emotional victory, like the one against Notre Dame the week before …

Speaking of Notre Dame, Brian Kelly’s shaky team better take care of Michigan State at home this week, or the Irish will have a tough time keeping this season relevant in South Bend …

Arizona State was extremely lucky in those final seconds against Wisconsin in Tempe. Let’s see how that luck holds out this Saturday at Stanford …

Does Oregon seem to be on cruise control, or what? Hard to see how anyone really challenges the Ducks until their own road trip to Stanford in November …

They continue to deny it at Texas, but sorry. Mack Brown is a fired coach walking …

Wow, Ohio State keeps taking on the biggies, doesn’t it? Florida A&M in Columbus? Come on, give me a break …

Whatever the BCS title game proves to be, it’s unlikely it will prove as entertaining as that Alabama-Johnny Football shootout …