USC the favorite in Pac-12 South

Jul 24, 2012, 12:05 AM | Updated: 1:18 am

No surprises here.

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.

Penguin Air

Arizona State Football

(AP Photo/Ralph Freso)...
Arizona Sports

Pac-12 exploring all expansion options with USC, UCLA heading to Big Ten

The Pac-12 is looking into expansion following the decisions from USC and UCLA on Thursday to head to the Big Ten as early as 2024.
3 days ago
Basketballs are rolled off the court during the NCAAB game at McKale Center on January 03, 2022 in ...
Arizona Sports

Arizona ‘extremely disappointed’ in USC, UCLA leaving Pac-12 for Big Ten

The Arizona Wildcats broke their silence Friday regarding USC's and UCLA's plans to leave the Pac-12 for the Big Ten as early as 2024.
3 days ago
UCLA plays Oregon during a Pac-12 NCAA college football game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., ...
Arizona Sports

UCLA, USC to leave Pac-12 for Big Ten in 2024

UCLA and USC will be leaving the Pac-12 for the Big Ten, beginning in the 2024-25 season, the two schools confirmed on Thursday evening.
4 days ago
Defensive back Jordan Clark #1 of the Arizona State Sun Devils celebrates with the Territorial Cup ...
Nikash Nath

Kyle Soelle, Jordan Clark ready to lead new faces for ASU football

ASU junior CB Jordan Clark and senior captain LB Kyle Soelle are expected to lead a Sun Devils defensive that'll have many new faces in 2022.
10 days ago
Arizona State Sun Devils offensive lineman LaDarius Henderson (77) lines up during the college foot...
Nikash Nath

Arizona State OL LaDarius Henderson talks new culture amid low expectations

OL LaDarius Henderson has been with ASU since 2019 and is no stranger to experiencing personnel and cultural changes within the program.
19 days ago
Head coach Herm Edwards of the Arizona State Sun Devils reacts after the loss to the Utah Utes at R...
Kellan Olson

SunDevilSource’s Karpman: Scathing opinion on ASU football unsurprising

A scathing take about ASU football from an anonymous opposing coach became the topic of conversation around the state of the program.
19 days ago