The Cal Bears have been able to hang with Usc this Saturday, and there is a troubling trend for the Trojans that has to do with playing down to their competition. We all know that they are talented, but we are not watching them put teams away when required. The Trojans are a much better team than this, and they need to get more inspired play from Sam Darnold. He is the hottest prospect in the land, but he needs to show that he can lead a team to any level of success he wants. Certain players can only go so far, and Darnold might turn out to be one of those guys.

Why does this happen?

We live in a culture where kids are watching professional athletes say that their opponents bring the best it in them. Tom Brady and Peyton Manning played the best against each other. Federer and Nadal have played some of the greatest matches in history against each other, but they do not overlook lesser talent. Nadal and Federer simply crush their opponents when they are not up to the challenge. Darnold appears to be playing down to the level of his competition, and that should be worrying for USC and NFL scouts.

You do not win playoff games like this

Let us assume that the Trojans get to the College Football Playoff. We can assume that they will play a very good team, and they cannot suddenly start to play well in that one game.

The other team will be more prepared, and the fault for the loss will lie at Clay Helton's feet. He simply has to convince Sam Darnold and his team that every team has to be taken seriously. USC should be beating Cal by a lot at this point, and they go into halftime even with the Bears. That is not only silly, but it shows that this team could give away their conference title at any time.

The PAC 12 benefits

The PAC 12 was supposed to have a hard time with USC this season, but they could easily win some big games against the Trojans because of a lack of preparation. USC cannot simply fix their problems at halftime and assume that they will win games. This team has to do a lot more to beat the likes of Stanford, UCLA, and Washington.

Washington is probably going to the CFL because they have a more complete team, better coaching, and they appear to be better prepared.

The California syndrome

NFL scouts often talk about guys from California or guys who play at California schools in a certain way. There are always rumblings about how these guys have too easy of a time in college. It is as if they did not struggle for anything, and that makes them a little softer. Is that what we are seeing?