BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — The USC Trojans may get cold feet against Colorado.
After all, it’s going to be downright chilly.
Still, interim coach Ed Orgeron is turning a cold shoulder to chatter about the freezing conditions that await No. 23 USC. He doesn’t give the frigid weather a second thought and insisted neither should his players.
Forecasts call for temperatures to be in the mid-20s at kickoff when the Trojans (8-3, 5-2 Pac-12) face Colorado (4-6, 1-6) on Saturday night. A winter storm hit the area earlier this week and dumped around two inches of snow, but it’s expected to be all but gone by the time USC arrives at Folsom Field.
“But it’s still going to be pretty chilly, especially for them,” said Jim Kalina, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
Orgeron quickly dismisses the bone-chilling conditions, asserting his team doesn’t worry about the weather.
The Buffaloes wouldn’t mind a few flurries falling since the Trojans aren’t exactly accustomed to snow. According to USC, the last time the Trojans played a game in the snow was Nov. 30, 1957, at Notre Dame, when the Irish won 40-12. The weather that day was 20 degrees.
USC has an all-time mark of 9-8-1 in cold-weather games (defined by the school as temperatures that significantly impact a contest).
“I think (the cold) is going to affect them a lot,” said Colorado receiver Paul Richardson, who grew up in Los Angeles. “But I think that they are one of those teams that feed off of energy and attitude, so I think they will be up for the challenge.”
Here are five things to consider as Orgeron keeps bolstering his bid to remain the Trojans coach and Colorado continues its quest to become bowl eligible:
PROVIDING A SPARK: Orgeron resuscitated a reeling program after he stepped in following the firing of Lane Kiffin. The Trojans are 5-1 under Orgeron, including a 20-17 win last weekend over a powerful Stanford squad. Orgeron said his time as Mississippi’s head coach taught him a few lessons about how to relate to his players. “One of the things I promised myself next time I got a chance, I was going to treat these young men like they were my own sons,” said Orgeron, who went 10-25 as head coach at Mississippi from 2005-07. “Being a little bit looser and relaxed around them seems to have worked.”
COOL KESSLER: Lately, quarterback Cody Kessler has a reliable run game behind him and that’s allowing him to find his rhythm in the pocket. Kessler is completing 75 percent of his passes over the last three games. “I know you hear on television all the time and on ESPN when they say, `If you have a good running game it makes the quarterback calm down,”‘ Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre said. “That’s what has helped him. The windows are a little bit bigger because of the running game. … He’s doing a good job.”
SERIES DOMINATION: The Trojans are 7-0 all-time against Colorado, outscoring the Buffaloes by an average margin of 26.1 points. Even more, add up all the points Colorado has ever scored in the series (47) and it doesn’t equal what the Trojans racked up on the Buffs last season (50). “Getting this (win) would be big,” MacIntyre said. “You’d see it on ESPN over and over. They’d talk about it. In that aspect, it would probably help the program I think nationally again.”
RICHARDSON’S LAST HOME GAME?: Richardson hasn’t really given much thought about whether he will turn pro after this season. The junior is having a sensational season, catching 71 passes for 1,201 yards, which is a new single-season record at Colorado. This game against USC could very well be his final one at Folsom Field. He will soak up the moment — he always does. “I get the chills before kickoff and just play through the game off of adrenalin,” Richardson said. “I am looking forward to it again.”
BOWL POSSIBILITY: The Buffaloes know what’s at stake — win the last two games and they will be bowl eligible. That’s a pretty big incentive, especially after going a program-worst 1-11 in 2012. Colorado hasn’t been to a bowl since 2007. “We have a two-game little playoff going on right now for ourselves to be able to make ourselves bowl eligible,” said MacIntyre, who’s in his first season with the Buffs. “This game is like the Super Bowl.”
By Pat Graham, AP Sports Writer
(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)