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Three takes about the 3-1 Trojans

LOS ANGELES – Near the USC campus at the fictional 109 Club, the “boys” reconvene for another round of discussion regarding the current state of the USC football season.

The Bartender: Hey gents, longtime no hear. Figured I’d see you during the bye week, so what do you think about our Trojans now?

The Optimist: I’ll take 3-1 and No. 18 in the country. Can’t wait for that rematch with Stanford up in Santa Clara come December. Them Cardinals had better be ready to face the real Trojans the next time around when it really counts.

The Realist: Well, I am pretty satisfied at 3-1, although I would have loved to beat those brainiacs from the Farm. Like Coach McKay, I can’t stand losing to them.

The Pessimist: We’re freaking lucky we’re not 2-2 and winless in conference. Lose to Stanford at home. Sickening. However, what did you expect by opening the season with two flyweights and then getting into the ring with a heavyweight? Oh, and let me add that Arizona State stinks, duh.

The Bartender: Sure looks like the Trojans offense is living up to expectations, agree?

The Optimist: Dude, they’re now averaging 46.8 points per game. What’s not to like? Sark allowing Clay Helton to call the plays shows. Cody Kessler looks Heisman. JuJu Smith-Schuster, Steven Mitchell, Darreus Rogers and Adoree' Jackson are the truth. Man, that freshman running back kid, Ronald Jones, take out the No. 2 in his No. 25 and what do you have? Bingo, Reggie Bush!

The Realist: Yeah, the Trojans have the firepower to get it done, no doubt. We can score from anywhere on the field. I think the offensive line is slowly coming to together. Left tackle Chad Wheeler is gradually rounding into shape after being cleared to hit late in training camp, and offensive guard Toa Lobendahn finally knows where he’ll play (at guard). It takes time.

The Pessimist: And I am sure you guys are happy about the new oncoming rash of penalties at the wrong time by the offensive line. Oh, and by the way, do we have any tight ends on the team to throw to consistently? Listen, a mosquito could call the plays and we’d score. And B-T-W, have you finally figured out the identity of the offense? I haven’t.

The Bartender: Are you still concerned about Justin Wilcox’s defense?

The Optimist: I thought that Sark spending more time with Justin really showed at ASU. The boys were really aggressive and had three sacks to show for it. And those Sun Devils turnovers, man, was that a sight for sore eyes? Our defensive line looked like the old Ed Orgeron days.

The Realist: I thought we took a step up in attitude and aggressiveness. However, ASU did find running room and I thought we still showed some pass-defense weakness. However, I think that Wilcox stepped up his blitz calls, and he and Sark were challenging the defense to play with more hostility. I call that leadership.

The Pessimist: Sorry, but if it wasn’t for Arizona State’s self-mutilation, the game would have been much closer. In fact, if you check the final stats, the Sun Devils were running all over the Trojans defense when they weren’t fumbling the ball. If you thought Stanford’s offense drilled us, just wait for Utah, Notre Dame, Cal, Oregon, and UCLA. That’s right, Cal, baby.

The Bartender: OK, let’s see who has the you-know-what to predict the next four games with Washington, Notre Dame, Utah, and Cal.

The Optimist: Hey, you don’t need to be Nostradamus to know we’ll sweep all four. The only hesitation is back at Notre Dame, but don’t tell me the Irish have recovered enough from last season’s 49-14 shellacking, and they’ve already had huge injuries.

The Realist: I’d be happy if the Trojans go 3-1. I have concersn about Notre Dame and their resiliency from injury. And Utah, even here, is going to be a war. The Utes are physical and they know how to beat us. I am somewhat concerned with Cal, but I just can’t see them not being the same old Bears, even in Berkeley.

The Pessimist: Washington is a gimmie, they whiff. Undefeated Utah and Notre Dame? You’d better be working your rosary beads overtime with those two. Both of them can and will physically abuse us and that translates into points. The Irish in South Bend at night in a revenge game? I optimistically see 2-2 at best.

The Bartender: Closing time, gents. See you back in November. Fight on!