There really isn't a whole lot more to say.
We all know what the stakes are today. The biggest questions are how will the USC defense stop the Duck offense and will Barkley get enough time to get the ball where he wants it to go?
I guess you can say this is USC's bowl game this season...its the biggest game this season to date.
USC can afford to play loose today...the pressure is all on Oregon after last nights loss by Okie St. If Oregon loses they're out, so they have a huge win to convince the voters that they belong. If the Ducks squeak this one out that won't be enough.
I am pretty sure USC wants to win in order to LEAVE. NO. DOUBT!
It is as simple as that...
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Here are few quick hits...
Scott Wolf on the hostile Autzen environment...
After former USC coach Pete Carroll's first visit to Autzen Stadium in 2001, he decided to film the Trojans walking from their locker room to the field during their next visit.
Carroll was not trying to capture a special moment for his players, but wanted to film the abuse leveled at his players by rabid Ducks fans.
"The way they acted was horrible," Carroll said.
And that was before Oregon went to a BCS title game and started its current run of 21 straight victories at home.
The atmosphere that awaits the 18th-ranked Trojans for today's game against the fourth-ranked Ducks could be even worse.
The nasty fans at Autzen are well documented. Their nastiness is their calling card, just like the weirdos in the Stanford band.
Pedro Moura digs a little deeper into USC-Oregon...
- Matt Barkley has thrown more touchdowns on passes of 15-plus yards this year than he did in the last two seasons combined. He is yet to turn the ball over in 86 pass attempts of this distance after throwing five interceptions last year. One reason for his success this season is the threat of both Robert Woods and Marqise Lee, who have combined to catch 12 of his 13 touchdowns thrown 15 or more yards downfield.
- Barkley is also completing 76.2 percent of his passes with five touchdowns and no interceptions outside of the pocket this season. He has been most successful on designed play-action bootlegs, which USC runs almost five times per game. On 46 bootleg attempts this season, Barkley has completed 40 -- good for an incredible 87 percent clip. He's thrown three touchdowns and no picks off those plays.
Those are some interesting numbers and stats, but I only care about one number...the final score in favor of USC.
Michael Lev of the OCR offers a different perspective of De'Anthony Thomas...
Meanwhile, here’s a subject I didn’t get into in the story: the potential big-picture impact of USC losing Thomas to Oregon. Did that represent a seismic shift in the recruiting wars waged in Southern California? Or simply one battle won over one five-star prospect?
I asked two recruiting experts about that, and they offered differing opinions.
Brandon Huffman, Scout.com: "You have to look at it as such, just because of all the fanfare he had, being a Los Angeles product. … It may have crippled USC some, but it really bolstered Oregon. They’re never going to fear going into anybody’s backyard and recruiting a high-profile kid. Now Oregon will be even tougher to recruit against. They’re going to feel like they can get anybody. And the way they’re playing the last few years, they may get everybody that they target."
Greg Biggins, ESPN.com: "I don’t know if I’d say it was a shift. I would say it was an isolated incident. If it happens three years in a row, that’s different. … I think Oregon’s definitely going to recruit well; they have an offense that a lot of guys want to play in. But I still think USC is always going to get their top guys in Southern California. … Oregon is making a lot of noise. They came close to getting Marqise Lee. They’re battling. Oregon feels they’re a major, perennial, top-10 program that can recruit nationally and has a lot to sell. They’re probably stronger because of it."
Two things here...
1) Huffman is a UCLA honk so anything he says that makes USC look bad has to be taken with a grain of salt.
2) I think Lev is way off base on this, the premise of this piece seems to indicate that Oregon out flanked USC on Thomas. Well, that didn't seem to be the case as was explained earlier this week.
"He never came up in spring evaluations or anything like that," Coach Chip Kelly says. "He was already committed and off the board."
Then came word from Los Angeles. With national signing day less than a week off, Thomas had asked Garrett to help him arrange a visit to Oregon.
"I'd say I was surprised," Kelly recalls.
For whatever reason, Thomas changed his mind, this wasn't an Oregon coup.
Unless of course Chip Kelly isn't telling the truth..........
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