Trojans at a crossroads

LOS ANGELES -- USC's flaws were exposed by Arizona State last weekend, and ASU might prove to be a blueprint for attacking the Trojans for the remainder of the season. This Saturday might be the most important Saturday of the year, as USC needs to rebound in a manner that resets the tone for the season.

If one had sat in the film room with the Trojans last Sunday, it's likely they focused on their mistakes -- turnovers, penalties, poor tackling in space and missed opportunities on offense. The Trojans were the better team, right? They proved it in the third quarter by storming back and taking the lead. That was the real USC, and if it had executed in the other three quarters, the Trojans return from Tempe as an undefeated team. Right?

I would certainly think that if I were on the team. And if I were a coach, I would want my team thinking that. But for several weeks now, we've seen the Trojans overcome offensive line deficiencies and hitch their wagon to a hot quarterback, and they have yet to face a potent offense that attacks the edges of the defense and the secondary and forces the Trojans to tackle. Isn't this also the real USC?