It raised a red flag going into the season, but now playing at Colorado six days after an emotionally draining 56-48 triple overtime loss to Stanford should have USC at DEFCON 1.
There will only be two days of practice to regroup and prepare for the first-ever conference trip to Boulder, where weather could be an issue.
The emotional state of the team will be the major question all week long. Prepare to parse and psychoanalyze every statement coming out of Howard Jones Field.
Tattered Trojans, Battered Buffs
Not only must USC deal with the short week, it limits the time to recuperate from the myriad injuries suffered against Stanford.
Running back Marc Tyler again hurt the shoulder he dislocated at California. Linebacker Dion Bailey, the team's leading tackler, was concussed in overtime, while freshman running back George Farmer is dealing with a bad ankle.
There is also the matter of cornerback Torin Harris and his lingering shoulder problem.
Colorado isn't faring much better on the injury front, with top running back Rodney Stewart dealing with a sprained knee. Quarterback Tyler Hansen suffered a concussion against Oregon, but was able to play in a 48-14 loss at Arizona State.
The Other, Other, Other Serra Receiver
Paul Richardson wasn't exact an afterthought coming out of Gardena (Calif.) Serra, a solid four-star recruit ranked 22nd among wide receivers in the Class of 2010, but was definitely overshadowed by Robert Woods and George Farmer.
But, after ending up at Colorado after signing with UCLA, Richardson has emerged as a star for the Buffaloes. Even after missing the last four games with a knee injury, the sophomore still leads the team with 29 receptions for 474 yards and five touchdowns.
Richardson is expected to return this week against USC, and will be looking to put on a show with his old teammates Woods, Farmer and Marqise Lee on the opposite sideline.