the price U.S.C. pays for dominating the sport for the greater part of a decade. Did anyone see this type of slide coming? One thing is for sure: I sure didn’t. Looking back, perhaps giving this team the benefit of the doubt because of their past success was a mistake; the freshman quarterback Matt Barkley was, after all, a freshman, and the defense lost a sizable amount of talent from last season’s dominating unit. While Barkley has shown flashes of the player he will undeniably grow into over the next two seasons, he has thrown at least one interception in each of his last eight games. Making matters worse for the offense is the potential ineligibility of running back Joe McKnight, who leads the Trojans with 1,014 yards rushing. If he is unable to play, U.S.C. will rely heavily upon Allen Bradford, who ranks second on the team with 596 yards. The defense, after giving up less than 10 points per game in 2008, has allowed more than 20 per game this fall. Perhaps more troubling has been the lack of a dominating rush defense (42nd nationally, down from fifth in 2008), which will be a key factor to watch against Boston College. Perhaps the most important statistic is this: U.S.C. has won 31 of its last 32 against non-conference competition, with the lone loss coming against Texas in the 2006 Rose Bowl.