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Staff Predictions: #6 USC Trojans vs #14 Stanford Cardinal

Hope is all we can do, and we REALLY lay down the hope with these predictions

Western Michigan v USC Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

USC heads into their second week with hardly any momentum following a narrow victory over unheralded Western Michigan—and are thrown right into fire against #14 Stanford. The Cardinal has consistently had the Trojans number for last couple of seasons, and here’s how a few us at Conquest Chronicles feel this game is gonna go.

Richard: This is Sam Darnold’s “Heisman Moment.”

I expect him to shake off the miscues from last week and find his open receivers—who REALLY should be open with Ronald Jones II rushing for **HOT TAKE ALERT** 200 yards on a stout Cardinal defense.

The pressure placed on Stanford’s defense with USC’s ascending running game will misplace the safeties up top and allow Darnold to tear up the middle of the field. That being said, the Trojans won’t be able to fully contain running back Bryce Love in what’s going to be an all-offense-all-the-time kind of game.

No aspect of this game will be easy for USC— and I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve been having that feeling that all Trojan fans get.

What’s it called?

Oh yeah, reality.

Since 2007, USC has arguably had the most overall talent year-to-year in all of college football and yes that includes the Terrible Rolling Tide. Yet they haven’t come close to being in National Championship contention and only really make late season surges to at best a Rose Bowl.

However, it’s still early and I’m allowed to remain a Trojan homer.

USC wins 47-42 on a Darnold go-ahead touchdown drive.

Josh: The adjustments made during a week of prep will be apparent.

Last week the Trojans played sloppy but still managed to win on their home turf against Western Michigan. This week's Stanford matchup, I'm afraid, won't be so forgiving. USC has to play tighter on both ends of the ball—limit turnovers, protect Sam Darnold, get pressure on Keller Chryst and not miss tackles.

Ronald Jones II will rack up over 100 yards on the ground, which will further his chances of getting some nods for the Heisman. I think this game will come down to the final possession or two but USC shows that they made improvements from their matchup against WMU and exit week two having increased their record to 2-0.

USC edges out Stanford, 38-30

Matthew: Can the run defense improve from last week?

This game is going to be a fight, that's for sure. USC last week had a hard time with Western Michigan, but still came away with the victory. One thing with USC is that they finish and know how to battle.

This week they will be tested against a Stanford team who has their number. The Cardinal has defeated them in 7 of the last 9 meetings, not to mention the Trojans and Pac-12 openers don’t go hand in hand the last few years. USC will have that in mind.

If USC can limit it’s mistakes, tackle, get the Stanford offense off the field and get their offense in going, then USC will win this game.

However, I’m still skeptical on the Trojans run defense, especially after the Western Michigan game. Yes they were without Cam Smith, but there’s still other factors that didn’t help the run defense. The Trojans interior line was pushed around by the Broncos, I don’t see how the line will make a complete change against Stanford just like that.

This game has the same feel as the 2015 game did when the two met in Los Angeles, We all saw how that tuned out. It will come down to who can finish in the 4th quarter. I see the game being close but Stanford pulling away in the end.

Stanford pulls away 38-24