Last November, the Oregon Ducks fell to the USC Trojans 38-35 for their first conference loss in two years. The Trojans played a great game at Autzen Stadium and bullied the Ducks for three quarters until Oregon's desperate rally fell short.
There are just over eight months until the teams clash again at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, which is expected to be the game of the year out west, if not in all of college football. Many pundits have already pegged the Trojans as one of the favorites to win the BCS National Championship behind quarterback Matt Barkley and nine returning starters on both offense and defense.
But the Ducks are the three-time defending Pac-12 champions and have designs of their own to crash the BCS title game. Duck fans carry optimism following a Rose Bowl win and with Oregon's recent status as a national contender.
So why is there a sense that Oregon will be much improved in their next encounter against an even more powerful USC squad?
Here are seven reasons: