USC the favorite in Pac-12 South
Joining Arizona Sports 620's Burns and Gambo on Monday, College Football Analyst Rick Neuheisel thinks the University of Southern California are the favorite to win the Pac-12 South in their first year of postseason eligibility in two years.
The prediction is coming on the heels of the Trojans' 2011 campaign, where the team finished with 10 total victories and a 7-2 conference record in the Pac-12 South.
While the record was good enough to put USC in the inaugural Pac-12 Conference Championship Game, the sanctions presented by the NCAA for the school's "lack of institutional control" prevented the team from advancing.
But many of the team's core players return, which according to Neuheisel, gives the Trojans a better chance to win the division.
"They've got a fabulous quarterback coming back [in Matt Barkley] and maybe the best two wide receivers in college football. They've got a good offensive line and a terrific running back coming back from a 1,000-yard season."
Neuheisel believes there may be a weak spot along the defensive line, but cites the fantastic freshman season of the linebackers and the more-experience Trojan secondary to more than makeup for the supposed flaw in the trenches.
"The question is who can challenge them," asks Neuheisel.
According to Neuheisel, Utah has a great defensive line and a returning quarterback in Jordan Wynn, but the program has inexperience on the field and in the coaching ranks with the introduction of 25-year-old offensive coordinator Brian Johnson.
When asked what Arizona State's chances are for toppling the Trojans, Neuheisel holds a reserved position, especially given the introduction of head coach Todd Graham.
"ASU has always got great talent. The question is how quickly [the players] adapt to a new coach's culture and whether they play for him and play for each other. That remains to be seen."
Fans will find out beginning September 1 when the Sun Devils kick off the 2012 season against Northern Arizona at Sun Devil Stadium.
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