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USC's rise quicker than expected

Buried under sanctions, no one thought the Trojans would recover this early

Updated: November 20, 2011, 1:44 PM ET
By Mark Saxon | ESPNLosAngeles.com

EUGENE, Ore. -- The NCAA leveled a howitzer at USC and barely grazed it.

If that wasn't clear before Saturday night, it was as crystalline as the cold, dry Oregon air after the Trojans' wild 38-35 win over No. 4 Oregon at Autzen Stadium.

The bruise of being left out of two straight bowl seasons isn't going to go away. They still have to navigate scholarship limits for three more years.

But even people in the middle of this thing never saw USC bouncing back this fast, ...

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