No. 13 USC entered the season as a favorite, with a preseason No. 2 ranking, to make a run to a national championship.
Quarterback Matt Barkley came back for his senior year amidst Heisman frontrunner talks.
Five weeks into the season, the Trojans are 3-1, on a bye week, and getting rest before taking on the bulk of their schedule.
"I just think that they're just a little tired," Coach Lane Kiffin told reporters after Saturday's practice. "Physically and mentally with all the buildup, the camp, the offseason, the expectations. Even though we downplay them they're still there."
And when expectations aren't met, the routine can become even more exhausting.
"The long trip to the east coast and coming back," Kiffin continued, "and going up to Stanford the next week and obviously not playing well up there. (Players) getting beat up left and right about that game, and come back to play another conference game."
Kiffin says this off week has proved to reenergize his team and has allowed them to rest their minds of the expectations.
"I think this was a good time to get away a little bit," he said. "I'm sure that they were excited to get away from us for a little bit, too."
The Trojans began preparations for Utah on Friday. They take on the Utes on Thursday night in Salt Lake City.