Just like week, not many in the national punditry are giving USC much of a chance tonight when Stanford comes to the Coliseum.
Its hard not to see why...Stanford has thumped just about everyone they have played. But the question to some of us is just who has Stanford played? Over the the next five weeks Stanford plays the toughest part of the schedule.
But in perusing Stanford's past schedule the only game that stands out so far this season is their drubbing of UW.
I know UW was ranked #25, but that isn't saying much. Nick Holt's defense was shredded and the UW offense had some issues. Keith Price and Chris Polk are promising but they are not enough.
And don't even get me started on Nick Holt...
So, who is Stanford really? Yes, it is entirely possible that Luck and Co. could come into the Coliseum tonight and shred USC but I think the game will be a little closer than that. This is going to be a very tough game tonight but lets not go too crazy here. If Andrew Luck does over the next five games what we have seen so far then ALL the accolades are well deserved but lets not get too far ahead. This will be Stanford's toughest game to date.
I am not saying a USC win is a lock, but USC has a chance.
USC has a chance to send an even bigger statement to the rest of CFB that this program is far from dead.
After nearly 1½ years of being adrift in a sea of sanctions and inconsistent performances, USC has a chance Saturday against the No. 4 Cardinal to reestablish itself among college football's elite.
The Trojans took a step in that direction last week with an impressive victory at Notre Dame, a win that temporarily returned them to national relevancy. The matchup against quarterback Andrew Luck and the Cardinal is an opportunity to take a giant leap toward solidifying that status.
Stanford enters the game riding a nation-best 15-game winning streak and has defeated its last 10 opponents by at least 25 points. The Cardinal, an 8½-point favorite, has covered the betting spread in every game.
Gotta love Gary Klein's hyperbole.
USC's issues over the past couple of seasons has to do more with a drop off in recruiting and player development under Pete Carroll. Kiffin has done some house cleaning to rid the program of some dead wood, so when those issues are coupled its hard not see where the drop has been. The sanctions only real issue as of RIGHT NOW were juniors and seniors being allowed to transfer without sitting out and the loss of a couple players on the recruiting trail because of negative recruiting.
USC will feel the full effect of the scholarship limits going forward.
I know there are those that have said that USC has never recruited a full class in the past 8-10 years but but the telent level we had then masked the numbers.
Lane Kiffin is still building the the talent pool back up...having only 15 schollies makes it tougher.
In fact Dillon Baxter won't be the last player to leave this team. More will leave for whatever reason...USC wants those slots.
Anyway, to get back on track...
Tonight's game has a different vibe to it. USC has had some stinker games as well this season. But we have seen this team start to improve on defense and come together on offense.
Maybe it's because of GameDay, maybe it is because USC has a chance to play spoiler...regardless, it is going to be a zoo tonight.
Nearly 30,000 more fans are expected to watch No. 4 Stanford face 20th-ranked USC than showed up at the Coliseum four weeks ago when the Trojans played Arizona.
"Stanford should bring a pretty good showing to the game," USC linebacker Chris Galippo said. "I expect it to be a packed house for sure."
USC is flush with momentum after impressing the nation in prime time with a 31-17 victory over Notre Dame last week. Today the Trojans can do a lot more for their reputation if they upset the Cardinal.
That requires bucking a couple trends that propelled the Cardinal into BCS title contention. Stanford (7-0) won its past 10 games by at least 25 points and 15 overall. The Cardinal also defeated USC at the Coliseum in 2007 and 2009.
"There's probably no one like them in the country," USC coach Lane Kiffin said. "There's no way to beat this team playing finesse, especially on defense."
There will be a fair amount of bandwagon fans in attendance tonight but the atmosphere will be different to what we have seen over the past couple of seasons....
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Here are some links.
L.A. Times -
Andrew Luck, Matt Barkley prepare to face off at Coliseum
Andrew Luck, a Heisman Trophy front-runner, leads Stanford. USC's Matt Barkley could, with a strong performance, raise his NFL draft stock if he chooses to leave school after this season.
Stanford tight ends elevate the Cardinal's game
Stanford tight ends Coby Fleener, Zach Ertz and Levine Toilolo are a triple threat facing the USC Trojans this weekend. They're tall, favored targets of Cardinal quarterback Andrew Luck.
USC to face a well-balanced Stanford offense
Call it Stanford 's new deal.
USC's Matt Barkley hopes to hit right chords against Stanford
Matt Barkley has been busy this week.
Lane Kiffin and father Monte coach USC football — and each other
USC Trojans head coach Lane Kiffin employing his father, Monte Kiffin, to run the defense has at times tested fans' patience. But their bond remains strong.
The Orange COunty Register -
Best of Luck? - The Orange County Register
USC’s Galippo to test his Luck vs. Stanford - The Orange County Register
Trojans have true veteran at fullback - The Orange County Register
Take 2: USC vs. Stanford - Pac-12 Blog ESPN
Deep thinking on USC-Stanford, the QBs - Pac-12 Blog ESPN
Panelists discuss seasonal impact of Stanford-USC game - ESPN
USC v Stanford Matchups - ESPN Video - ESPN
The personal foul penalty - ESPN Los Angeles
Preview: Stanford at USC " The Trojan Empire
Stanford Offensive Preview " Trojan Football Statistics