While you were on vacation... USC

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

The eighth of 10 quick hit updates of off-season Pac-10 goings on.

In a sentence:

  • USC is the overwhelming Pac-10 favorite and a national title contender (skip) USC is the overwhelming Pac-10 favorite and a national title contender (skip) USC is the ...

The big question:

  • The Trojans need young players to step up on both lines and the skill positions, but what they really need to do is avoid grabbing their own necks in a choke hold while facing an inferior opponent.

Quick hit news:

  • Pete Carroll was side-swiped by a LA County Sheriff over the summer, according to a report from he LA Daily News. Inquiring minds want to know what happened to Officer Neuheisel?

  • Tailback Joe McKnight is expected to be eligible again after sitting out the final week of spring practices due to academic issues. Word on the street is he's also bulked up to over 200 pounds -- he was listed at 180 as a true freshman.

  • USC signed a new, 25-year lease during the offseason that will keep the football team in the Coliseum. There also is a plan for more than $100 million in renovations, a project that may be financed, in part, by selling naming rights to the stadium.

  • The Long Beach Press Telegram reported (see second note) that USC linebacker recruit Maurice Simmons, who pled not guilty to second-degree robbery, assault with a firearm and permitting a loaded firearm in his vehicle in May, may see his case dismissed because the alleged victim has gone AWOL.

  • The latest on the Reggie Bush case. It's on hold until Aug. 1, with Bush's lawyers trying to keep any eventual resolution hush-hush. Until the case resolves itself, the NCAA and Pac-10 really won't be able to take any action.