Mark Sanchez bolting school a year early for the NFL hurts a lot, even though "Slippery Pete" begged and pleaded with him not to leave him hanging (ten).
Never mind the silly surfing joke there. You probably missed it anyway.
USC had a stellar defense in 2008—one of the best in the nation in fact—but eight of those 11 starters are now gone. Yes we all know USC reloads with more talented four and five-star blue-chippers, but it's the lack of experience that can kill you.
Starting center Kristofer O'Dowd could be out several weeks after dislocating his right kneecap during a scrimmage last week.
I know that Ohio State center Mike Brewster is the anchor of the Buckeyes O-line and if he went down, that would be devastating.
Even though the Bucks have plenty of young, highly-touted linemen waiting in the wings, it would be nearly impossible to overcome a loss this significant. Therefore, I have to believe the loss of O'Dowd is huge for USC.
USC fans should be concerned that true freshman Matt Barkley was named the starting QB. Yes he won the Gatorade POY in 2007 and he was the top QB prospect in the nation this past season coming out of Mater Dei.
But, he has never taken a snap at this level and his second career start is going to be in Columbus, Ohio on ABC, in primetime, versus an out-for-blood and revenge Buckeye team, in front of their own 100,000+ crazy-loud, rabid, scarlet and gray clad fans in the biggest must game win of all must win games of all-time—yet despite all that, he's going to just waltz right into the Shoe, be as cool as the other side of the pillow, and lead USC to victory?
Good luck with that Matt.
Fifth, if you haven't heard by now, starting WR Ronald Johnson will be out six to eight weeks after breaking his collarbone during the Trojans' mock game Saturday at the Coliseum, depriving Barkley of one of his top targets until at least mid-October.
Johnson was the Trojans' third-leading receiver last season with 33 catches for 570 yards and eight touchdowns. Coach Pete Carroll said the injury was "the hit of the hit of the weekend," and called Johnson's absence "just a crusher."
Lastly, USC projected starting corner back, Shareece Wright, has been ruled academically ineligible. Please don't say he wasn't going to srart anyway, or losing him is no big deal. He was the projected starter for a reason USC homers!
Now, if USC fans STILL believe Ohio State has no shot to win this game, you must have some super-secret weapon stored away that none of us have a clue about.
Please, do tell.
USC is still USC and I don't expect them to come in to Ohio Stadium and just wave the white flag. But, realistically, the odds of them winning have decreased over the last couple of weeks.
The sad part is, as many others have already said, this is a no-win-situation for Ohio State because if they do win, everyone will say it was because of these USC injuries and that the Trojans were overrated and rebuilding.
If they lose, it will be because Ohio State is overrated and they choked again like they always do on the big stage.
I want and fully expect the Buckeyes to win this game, but it's a shame that if they do, it will be with this dark cloud hanging over their, dare I say, impending victory.
They may have been able to beat USC at full strength, but now we will never know.