The USC Trojans and Four Other Teams Who Aren’t Who We Thought They Were

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bill-swift - September 19, 2012

When the college football season starts each year the rankings that come out are largely based off of the success a team saw the season before and whatever the perception is of the remaining starters and the new ones. Players don't always live up to the expectations that we set for them meaning that there will be some who simply aren't who we thought they were.

After three weeks of the 2012 college football season there are some teams that came into the season looking one way, but have since proven to not be who we thought they were (both good and bad):

USC Trojans: USC began the season as the No.1 team in the nation and the consensus favorite to be the team that finally unseats the SEC from winning the BCS championship. They may need a little luck to even be in BCS conversations now. Saturday's 14-21 loss to Stanford is going to cause them to take a tumble in the polls (from No.2 to No. 13 in the AP).

Matt Barkley was either on the run, on his back, or throwing an interception (two on the night). In all fairness, the team has lost its starting center and lost a pair of running backs early in the game, but then if you are a Heisman Trophy candidate and national title contender you should be able to overcome the loss of a couple players. Barkley might want to forget about the Heisman and make sure that NFL scouts see something they like the rest of the season.

While the poor showing could be chalked up to a tough Stanford team, the Trojans haven't looked the greatest in the team's other games. Hawaii was poor team; Syracuse was not exactly tough either. Sure enough, the first time they do play someone legitimate (i.e. Stanford) they are dominated (the score doesn't say it, but the Cards were laying the wood on Barkley and company all night long).

Arkansas Razorbacks: I almost feel sorry for these guys. It had to be pretty deflating to be a top 10 team like the were last week prior to the game only to lose and fall out of the ranks in the AP Poll. The 52-0 spanking Alabama put on the Hogs is going to shoot them well out of the USA Today poll as well. While losing quarterback Tyler Wilson was part of the problem against Alabama, they have a much larger one to deal with--all the dissension over the firing of head coach Bobby Petrino.

The poo poo already started to hit the fan courtesy of Wilson after Saturday's loss to Alabama. Look for it to really hit the fan this week as the team nose dives even further.

Wisconsin Badgers: Running back Montee Ball came back to Wisconsin in hopes of being able to lead the team to a national title. What would have been great for him is that it would fall largely on his shoulders as the focal point of the offense. The problem is that he needed some of the new starters like QB Davey O'Brien to play well as well. So far that isn't happening.

After squeaking out a win over Northern Iowa, losing to Oregon State, and barely beating Utah State the Badgers might want to concentrate on being bowl eligible at the end of the season.

Stanford Cardinal: After losing Andrew Luck to the NFL there was cautious optimism for Stanford. They were voted in more out of respect for what they had been, but were a team that was a loss away from being dropped out of the rankings. A tight 20-17 win over San Jose State in Week One caused them to slip from No. 21 to 25.

The team rebounded against Duke behind a strong outing by Josh Nunes. While the statistics will not look good for him in the win over USC, he did a great job of leading his team and made some clutch plays when it really mattered. Along with running back Stepfan Taylor and a tough defense it looks like Stanford might not miss that Luck guy for long.

UCLA Bruins: The 'other' team in Southern California has not been relevent in their own conference let alone the national rankings since the late 90's. That trend appears to be changing for the better this season.

New head coach Jim Mora has the team playing lights out football. Freshman quarterback Brett Hundley is looking like a future Heisman candidate as long as Mora keeps him protected and surrounded by talent. He has a tremendous piece of talent in senior running back Johnathan Franklin helping him out this season. Fellow freshman Steven Manfro will be more than happy to step up next season when Franklin starts playing on Sundays.

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