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The Meat of the Schedule

So it all comes down to the home stretch, and it starts with Oregon. The Notre Dame win was a necessity and for the most part it was a feel good win. I wasn't completely happy with the first 20 minutes or so but in the end SC had a good win.

The stakes change as we go up against solid Oregon team in a very hostile place so whomever starts at QB better be ready for a lot of noise and a lot of trash talking. Te only question I have is, are we ready? Some feel that our previous games were no more than an exhibition schedule, I don't know about you but I don't feel like that was exhibition schedule.

A 38-0 victory over Notre Dame did little to help the Trojans prepare for a brutal stretch that begins at Oregon and includes road trips to California and Arizona State before hosting UCLA in the season finale. Oregon and Arizona State are top-five teams in this week's Bowl Championship Series rankings.

Through its first seven games, USC has hardly had ideal preparation. The Trojans' first seven opponents are currently 14-34 overall; their next five are 27-8.

But Carroll compared this year's schedule to last season.

"We couldn't get much harder (than last year)," he said. "It was Oregon, Cal, Notre Dame and someone else."

That someone else was the team he didn't beat in that stretch, UCLA.

"This is very familiar," Carroll said.

With one major difference. USC played Oregon, Cal and Notre Dame at the Coliseum before going to the Rose Bowl for the UCLA game.

Three of the Trojans' next four games are on the road (Oregon, Cal, Arizona State).

Win some lose some the chips are against us when it comes to this years schedule and there is nothing we can do about it.

With Cal losing to ucla we saw some things that we can exploit in Berkley in a couple of weeks. That loss can't be good for their confidence and it can't help that the bloom is off the Rose when it comes to Cal Coach Jeff Tedford. Cal is good but lets not get carried away. Oregon has lost a few players to either suspensions or injuries but they just keep on plugging away. Sure they had a very good day against UW gaining 400-plus yards rushing but UW's got a pretty porous defense as we saw against them ourselves. Oregon now has to go up a vastly better defense than what they just encountered. Dennis Dixon is a pretty good QB but he won't have a s much room to operate this week. Still, this is no cake-walk for USC and Autzen stadium is no place to be if you are looking for peace and quiet.

We'll have more on the Ducks later this week.

Either way it's not going to be an easy stretch for SC, but I haven't seen any team in the Pac-10 really pull away from the pack. Everyone has their issues so no one is going to get a free pass. We have some work to do and hopefully our past experiences will keep us focused and not get ahead of ourselves.

It will be interesting to see how this team responds...