It's Week 5 . . . and we're 'Just Askin'

We're "Just Askin' " what's going on with USC's Pac-12 South schedule and then based on the Oregon State game, what does it mean for this week's Arizona State game, the first of USC's five against league opponents in the South.

This week, we really do have a question and we know it's not going to be answered here. But we are "Just Askin' " about something we heard from Steve in Virginia and in the great research posted by Hector Spectre on the Peristyle. If you didn't see it, well, it's both hard to believe -- and then again, not hard at all.

It's the look those guys took at the USC schedule and opponents. Steve noted that Boston College had just an extra day to get ready for a USC team traveling cross-country a week after traveling to Stanford and we know how that turned out. But this is seriously weird stuff when you look at how the Pac-12, and specifically the Pac-12 South, schedule will play out?

So here goes. If you haven't seen Hector's post on the P, the thing that jumps out at you is the way every single one of USC's five Pac-12 South opponents will have extra time to prepare for USC. More time than USC will have to prepare for them.

Not a single Pac-12 South USC opponent will play the Saturday before the USC game. Not one. UCLA and Colorado will have two full weeks to prep for USC. And USC? The Trojans will play four out of the five Saturdays before facing a Pac-12 South opponent and the one they miss, before the UCLA game after their Thursday night game, still has them with five fewer days than UCLA will have.

Not a math major here but that would seem to be mathematically impossible to happen just by chance. All five of your Pac-12 South rivals have the Saturday before they play USC off and USC plays all but one of those Saturdays? Just not possible.

The only weekend USC had off to prep for any Pac-12 game was the bye week before last Saturday's Oregon State game. The only one coming up, other than the aforementioned UCLA week, is before the Thursday, Oct. 13 Cal game at the Coliseum, but the Bears will get the same 12 days off as well.

So we know you're wondering whether this happens more than we realize so what about the other Pac-12 big boys. How does it work for Oregon, UCLA or Stanford? Not like USC, that's for certain. Stanford has just one of its entire nine-team Pac-12 slate with a bye the week before they play the Cardinal. Oregon has two of its nine opponents in the league with the Saturday off before they play.

And UCLA? Four of UCLA's Pac-12 South opponents play the Saturday before they face UCLA. Only Arizona State last Thursday had the Saturday off, as did UCLA, which wil get extra time for three of its Pac-12 South opponents -- two of which it gets two weeks to get ready for.

And to remind you one more time: USC willl get more time than not a single one of its Pac-12-South opponents. So what the heck is going on here . . . Just Askin'.

*** So what's the reason for the offensive slow starts USC has experienced the last three games -- slowed-down practices, too-cute or too-stubborn play-calling or young O-linemen trying to get up to speed with new wrinkles added each week . . . Just Askin'.

*** And could those slowed-down practices be why Buck Allen and Justin Davis weren't able to run past a single tackler, a single Oregon State tackler, when they got into a one-on-one situations with them in the open field Saturday . . . Just Askin'.

*** Will the emphasis on that part of the game pay off this week agains an ASU team that, at least in its UCLA game, looked like its tacklers were playing with blindfolds on . . . Just Askin'.

*** Is this the week we get to see Tre Madden back in the rotation and see if USC can run power . . . Just Askin'.

*** Is this the week we see USC consistently throw the ball downfield to its pair of dynamic tight ends -- Randall Telfer and Bryce Dixon . . . Just Askin'.

*** Is this the week we see the speeded-up, quicker-hitting, more basic, more familiar run game USC came out with after halftime against Oregon State right from the get-go . . . Just Askin'.

*** Is this the week we see the horizontal passing game that can have USC complete its first- and second-down passes only to face a third-and-12 finally traded in for a vertical attack that makes use of the Trojans' athleticism . . . Just Askin'.

*** Speaking of speed and athleticism, did you notice USC had five receivers in the end zone 55 yards from where Cody Kessler unloaded that halftime-beating Hail Mary because running back Buck and tight end Dixon were quick enough to get there along with all three wide receivers -- Darreus Rogers, Nelson Agholor and Juju Smith . . . Just Askin'.

*** Have you ever seen a Hail Mary where the receivers outnumbered the defenders in the end zone, enabling USC to set up a wall behind Rogers allowing him to catch the bomb without a hand in his face . . . Just Askin'.

*** Speaking of speed and athleticism, when do you think we'll see George Farmer get to just run as far and fast as he can and see if Cody can air it out to him? Wouldn't that be a good thing to get on video for every USC opponent to have to think about . . . Just Askin'.

*** Will it be easier for USC to get into its hoped-for uptempo game against an ASU team that absolutely wants to play that way on offense and may not have the defense to force USC into three-and-outs . . . Just Askin'.

*** For those of us leaving the press box at 2 a.m. last week and cursing 7:30 p.m. kickoffs, will we change our thinking when the Coliseum temperature at this week's 4:30 kickoff (for the Fox game as opposed to another 7:30 ESPN start) is like 95 degrees . . . Just Askin'.

*** After practicing outside all week, wonder if USC will have the advantage over an ASU team that often has to practice indoors because of the Arizona heat . . . Just Askin'.

*** If last week was Sua Cravens' breakout game, could this be the moment for Adoree Jackson in a shootout open-field, up-and-down game a little like last year's . . . Just Askin'.

You can follow me on Twitter at @dweber3440 or email me at weber@uscfootball.com.

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