The team that is expected to be the first Pac-10 opponent on UW’s 2010 schedule — USC — will be in action tonight at 5 p.m. as the Trojans face Boston College in the Emerald Bowl.
UW is expected to play at USC on Oct. 2 following its three non-conference games and a bye week.
The 2010 schedules for all Pac-10 teams have yet to be set because the Pac-10 is still working on finalizing the conference schedule. But here is what UW’s schedule is expected to look like:
Sept. 4 — at BYU
Sept. 11 — Syracuse
Sept. 18 — Nebraska
Sept. 25 — Bye week
Oct. 2 — at USC
Oct. 9 — Arizona State
Oct. 16 — Oregon State
Oct. 23 — at Arizona
Oct. 30 — Stanford
Nov. 6 — at Oregon
Nov. 13 — UCLA
Nov. 20 — Bye week
Nov. 27 — at Cal
Dec. 4 — at Washington State
As I wrote earlier, the changes from what you may have seen in previous 2010 schedules are in a couple of the road games, moving the WSU game from Nov. 20 to Dec. 4, and the Cal game from Sept. 25 to Nov. 27. From what I understand, the final stuff being worked on now is almost solely related to TV arrangements and not dates, so what I’ve printed above, as far as I know, should stick.
Those changes help the Huskies get two byes, and also spreads the byes out, giving UW one in late September and another in November. The original schedule called for 12 games in 12 weeks, which the coaches don’t want, thinking it’s too hard physically on the players.
Obviously, moving the Cal game also allows UW to avoid opening Pac-10 play with two straight on the road.
But it also means UW will open Pac-10 play against the Trojans in the LA Coliseum, where they haven’t won since 1996.
UW fans will get a look at much of what they may see on that date tonight when the Trojans play Boston College (here’s a good preview of the game from The New York Times and this and this from the LA Times. Also, here’s the AP preview on the game from our site and more on this game and other news around the Pac-10 from The Oregonian.
While USC has had its worst season this year since 2001, going 8-4 overall and 5-4 in Pac-10 play — just a game better than the Huskies — youth was a huge part of the reason, as Matt Hayes of The Sporting News points out.
Indeed, look at USC’s depth chart for tonight’s game and you don’t see a real veteran team — just three senior starters on each side of the ball.
The three on offense are LT Charles Brown, LG Jeff Byers and TE Anthony McCoy. USC will also lose junior WR Damian Williams, who has said he will leave early for the NFL, and is also likely to lose RB Joe McKnight, who apparently won’t play tonight, and as a junior, seems likely to head to the NFL.
On defense, all of USC’s seniors are in the secondary — CB Kevin Thomas, FS Taylor Mays and SS Will Harris. Josh Pinkard was also a starter at CB much of the year but is injured tonight.
Many of the losses are significant — Brown was voted by opposing conference defensive linemen as the best OL in the league. Byers, Williams and Mays were also first-team picks and Thomas and Pinkard were second-teamers.
But seven other players who were either second-team picks or honorable mention figure to return, and USC’s recruiting hasn’t appeared to slack any of late, so simply having a lot of talent around next year doesn’t figure to be an issue.
Still, there are a lot of unknowns surrounding this program (all the NCAA stuff being front and center) and who knows exactly how the Trojans will look come next Oct. 2. USC, however, has usually used a solid bowl game performance to springboard into the next season — the only bowl game it has lost since 2001 was the 2005 national title game against Texas. During the Pete Carroll Era, the Trojans may never have needed a strong finish to a season as much as they do this year,