Shotgun Spratling | USCfootball.com

Just Sayin' . . . Colorado Week

Has Colorado Week ever meant so much? Actually, it did, once. We remember it well. We're Just Sayin' here.

Colorado week, huh? It's come to that?

Indeed it has, with all credit due to Mike Macintyre and the 21st-ranked Buffs, who have resurrected Ralphie & Co. back in Boulder.

Normally, the only interest in this game for USC fans is how much snow will be on the ground, or how cold it will be, for those Friday night late-season road games on the Pac-12 Network this series favors.

Not this season, although it's still on the Pac-12 Networks. The Buffs (4-1, 2-0 in the Pac-12) are tough -- leading the Pac-12 South. None of that have we been able to say in nearly a decade-and-a-half in this series

But there was a time. It was our first big road game on the USC beat. Game 2 in 2002. And that one mattered a lot. This week won't be the first time when this one-sided series -- USC leads 10-0 with seven straight this century -- had some serious suspense. And the outcome mattered more than just for this one game. It's kind of a big deal for a 2-3 USC team (1-2 in the Pac-12) that's trying to get to climb out of the grave as the dirt is being shoveled in. We're Just Sayin'.

*** For some folks, just an admission of that fact, that beating Pac-12 newbie and longtime cellar-dweller Colorado both matters and is in doubt is a sign of how far the Trojans have fallen under first-year coach Clay Helton . . . Just Sayin'.

*** The good news for this USC football team is how that's not exactly correct. This game matters more than as just the feature event in Trojan Family Weekend . . . Just Sayin'.

*** All on its own, Colorado has made this a game that matters, beating everybody but Michigan on the road when QB Sefo Liufau was injured with a lead although that's allowed CU to find a freshman, Steven Montez, who looks like he'll give Sam Darnold a run for Rookie QB of the Year . . . Just Sayin'. 

*** But back to the last time the Buffs were big, bad threats to USC, in 2002, when the No. 17 Trojans, just off a 24-17 home win over Auburn, went into Boulder a tossup against a No. 18 CU team. The one thing that was so obvious in that 40-3 USC romp was that Carson Palmer could really play -- and USC had way better athletes than Colorado did . . . Just Sayin'.

*** That USC team would go on to stumble twice at Kansas State and Washington State on the way to an 11-2 season ending with an Orange Bowl romp, but thanks to that season-defining win over Colorado, USC managed to overcome the losses . . . Just Sayin'.

*** This Trojan team already has three losses, two one-sided, so it has far more to overcome, which is why a ranked Colorado team is just what USC needs here . . . Just Sayin'.

*** Not that USC's front-loaded and back-loaded toughest schedule in the nation needs some middle loading, but Colorado will be the fifth ranked opponent in USC's first six games. Doubt anyone has ever had to face that kind of gauntlet . . .Just Sayin'.

*** But there is a serious positive here for USC. Beat a second straight ranked opponent and it makes up a bit for the face-plants in three of the first four . . . Just Sayin'.

*** So there's more good news with the way Cal, up in two weeks, is playing as well. The more the merrier. USC needs someone to step up for faltering Oregon down the road and the Trojans can use all the help they can get from ranked opponents where they find themselves now . . . Just Sayin'.

*** Clay has said he wants to see week-to-week improvement. Pretty sure he wasn't talking about opponents. But for this team, that's what he's getting . . . Just Sayin'.

*** For USC, Colorado is the right team at the right time in the right place . . . Just Sayin'.

*** The question now, can a Sam-led USC team that got its run game, its passing distribution, it's explosive plays and its defensive soundness all on the same page with its coaches stay in that far better place than all of those were in a "September not to remember" that Clay referenced the other day?. . . Just Sayin'.

*** Can the Trojans get on a run? Not that this is an option. USC has no choice. Beat the Buffs -- or wait until next year, as far as making this one matter . . . Just Sayin'.

*** We say that choice is an easy one. But it's all up to Clay & Co. this week. They must keep getting better, smarter, tougher and more together. That's the only way this works . . . Just Sayin'.

*** And finally, for those who think the Arizona State win didn't mean squat against the woeful Sun Devils defense, well, all we can say is that you must have missed the end of the Tennessee-Georgia game Saturday where each team scored in the final 10 seconds and both coaches should be looking for new jobs the way they defended -- or didn't defend. It's not just in the Pac-12 where it's hard to finish out . . . Just Sayin'.

*** Now it's up to USC to figuring out how to finish up -- every single game -- in a season that started out so very badly . . . Just Sayin'.  

 

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

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