Los Angeles is no longer defined by USC or UCLA alone. Instead, this year each team will be fighting for the title of the Pac-12 South. While UCLA may be the favorite, USC is not too far behind. Of late, much has been written about the proverbial changing of the guards in Los Angeles from USC to UCLA. USC is pushing back and should make this year an interesting one to watch in LA.
The Bruins come in to this year with two potential Heisman candidates in quarterback Brett Hundley and running back/linebacker Myles Jack. While Jack’s role has yet to be defined, Hundley should have an easy enough time keeping the Bruin offense in games this year, though their defense may struggle out of the gates. This year the Bruins will struggle to replace Anthony Barr and Jordan Zumwalt at their respective linebacker positions. I do like Kene Orjioke as a potential replacement at outside backer. In limited time last year, he blocked a punt and had two sacks. At 6’ 4” and 240 pounds, this kid has really beefed up to play the linebacker position. His outstanding athleticism should allow him to at least partially fill the large shoes left by Barr and Zumwalt. If this defense can hold opposing offences in check, this Bruin team will be one to be reckoned with.
The Trojans start the year as they have too often recently, with confusion at the starting quarterback position. Hopefully this year the competition is over soon and the offense can start to mesh before the start of the season. With Steve Sarkisian revamping the offense and Justin Wilcox solidifying the defense, USC can really bespecial this season. The defense should be the strength of the team as it finished No. 1 in total defense in the Pac-12 last year and is bringing back six starters. I’ll be looking to Hayes Pullard and Su’a Cravens to be leading this 2014 Trojan defense.
With both USC and UCLA in good position to win the Pac-12 South, this year should be an exciting one to watch. While a third party could come in and win the South division, the Bruins and Trojans will no doubt be in the race.