LOS ANGELES (AP) — Southern California is nobody’s No. 1 team heading into this season, and the Trojans are eager for the chance to surprise everybody.
High expectations shouldn’t bother any player who pulls on a USC jersey, coach Lane Kiffin figures. Yet the Trojans’ preseason top ranking hung over a program still laboring under NCAA probation and scholarship limitations last fall, making their tumble to a 7-6 season even more embarrassing.
Receiver Marqise Lee can see where last season went wrong, and the Biletnikoff Award winner is determined to prevent it from happening to another talent-laden team with Pac-12 title aspirations.
With Matt Barkley, Robert Woods and T.J. McDonald gone to the NFL, the Trojans have lost much of the star power that led to last season’s lofty ranking.