Saying hello to the bye

LOS ANGELES -- The Trojans enter the bye week at 3-1 overall, 1-1 in the Pac-12. There's certainly nothing wrong with that record -- it brings with it a No. 13 national ranking in the AP poll -- but it's not where the Trojans were hoping to be at the moment.

Let's face it, the Trojans planned to be sitting at the bye with a 4-0 record and no worse than a No. 2 ranking. The loss at Stanford was a cold dose of reality for a team that genuinely felt capable of making a run at the national title. It's always nice to have a bit of luck if you want to set such lofty goals, but the Trojans had some bad timing in that department with injuries to Khaled Holmes and Andre Heidari. The season will likely show that a seven-point loss on the road to the Cardinal is nothing to be ashamed of. And one has to give credit to Stanford for the job it did to get the win, but the absence of those two players was definitely critical in impacting the game.

Outside of that loss, there have been plenty of moments to justify the Trojans' belief that they are among the nation's elite teams. Marqise Lee has been nothing short of spectacular, starting with the first play of the season when he took a short pass and turned it into a 75-yard score. Matt Barkley may not be playing at the Heisman level everyone expected, but he's thrown for 12 touchdowns and more than 1,000 yards. Robert Woods has shown flashes of his explosiveness, Silas Redd has been a bonus, T.J. McDonald has been playing at a high level, the linebackers have been remarkably consistent and Morgan Breslin has been the surprise of the team.