News Column

Is USC Worst No. 1 Team Ever?

Nov. 6, 2012

Scott Wolf

USC players frustrated over a two-game losing streak know there is no sympathy from fans or anyone else regarding their free fall since being ranked No. 1 before the season.

"It's what have you done for me lately?" senior safety T.J. McDonald said. "We lost the game. Arizona State doesn't care how we feel right now."

The Trojans (6-3, 4-3) host the Sun Devils (5-4, 3-3) at noon Saturday at the Coliseum. USC controls its destiny for winning the Pacific-12 Conference South Division and playing in the conference title game.

But No. 21 USC must ignore the disappointment of preseason expectations. The Wall Street Journal asked Monday if USC "was the worst No. 1 ever?"

The paper noted the last team ranked No. 1 in The Associated Press preseason poll to finish the season unranked was Mississippi in 1964.

"You never want three losses (in a row) but we are focused on Arizona State and Arizona State alone," quarterback Matt Barkley said.

No lineup changes

Kiffin claimed he would not open any defensive positions following poor performances against Arizona and Oregon.

"We're not putting this on the players," Kiffin said. "We're putting this on ourselves.

"When you give up numbers like that, the last thing you do is blame the players. We can't fix what happened before. We can just forward. We can improve individually ourselves."

Redfield decommits

Safety Max Redfield, who committed to USC in the summer,

announced on Facebook he changed his mind and would consider other schools. The move was not surprising because Redfield recently took a trip to Notre Dame, and the Irish are believed to be his current leader.

"Going back on my word is something I never imagined doing and it hurts me to do it, but in the end I feel is necessary to do in order to decide what college I want to go to and in the end what path I want to take in life," Redfield wrote. "For many different reasons I am choosing to decommit from USC and re-open recruiting."

Redfield is ranked the No. 2 safety in California and No. 31 player overall by Rivals.com. He is still expected to consider USC.

Tuerk praise

Kiffin said freshman offensive tackle Max Tuerk's performance was overshadowed by USC's loss to Oregon.

"Any time you lose, there's lost story lines," Kiffin said. "We win that game, (Tuerk is) a big story line. That was a big test for him and he played great. (But) we need to play more consistent inside with the two guards."

Kiffin added Barkley and wide receiver Marqise Lee would be Heisman Trophy frontrunners if USC won its past two games.

"If (we) win those two games, the story lines are Matt and Marqise are going to New York," Kiffin said. "It's mind-blowing what (Lee) is doing."



Source: (c)2012 Daily News (Los Angeles) Distributed by MCT Information Services


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