One of the most intriguing Week 9 matchups on the college football schedule occurs when the Utah Utes travel to the Coliseum to take on the USC Trojans.
Both the Utes and Trojans are in the midst of a heated battle for position within the Pac-12, with the former at 1-3 in the conference and the latter at 1-2.
Outside of the obvious bowl and conference implications, the two teams have also been drastically unpredictable this season. USC is in a state of flux under Ed Orgeron and lost to Notre Dame last week. Utah is just as bad, coming off a loss to Arizona, with a major upset win over then-No. 5 Stanford just the week prior.
In other words, the action from the Coliseum is sure to entertain. Here is everything fans need to know about the important matchup.
When: Saturday, Oct. 26 at 4 p.m. ET
Where: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, Calif.
Television: Pac-12 Network
Live Stream: ESPN3
Betting Lines (via Vegas Insider)
- Over/Under: N/A
- Spread: USC (-7)
Utes Injury Report (via USA Today)
|Brian Blechen||LB||10/20/2013||Questionable for Saturday's game against USC||Questionable||Knee|
|Tevin Carter||S||08/17/2013||Will miss the entire season||Out||Academics|
|Moses Folauhola||DE||08/11/2013||Will miss the entire season||Out||Concussion|
|Jacoby Hale||LB||10/20/2013||Questionable for Saturday's game against USC||Questionable||Undisclosed|
|Reshawn Hooker||S||08/11/2013||Will miss the entire season||Out||Concussion|
|Jake Murphy||TE||10/09/2013||Expected to miss the remainder of the season||Out||Wrist|
|Jarrell Oliver||RB||08/17/2013||Will miss the entire season||Out||Foot|
|Kenneth Scott||WR||08/30/2013||Expected to miss the remainder of the season||Out||Ankle|
|Westlee Tonga||TE||10/09/2013||Out indefinitely||Out||Undisclosed|
|Stevie Tu'ikolovatu||T||08/22/2013||Will miss the entire season||Out||Foot|
|Travis Wilson||QB||10/20/2013||Questionable for Saturday's game against USC||Questionable||Hand|
Trojans Injury Report (via USA Today)
|Zach Banner||OL||09/27/2013||Will miss the remainder of the season||Out||Hip|
|Victor Blackwell||WR||10/20/2013||Questionable for Saturday's game against Utah||Out||Ankle|
|Xavier Grimble||TE||10/20/2013||Questionable for Saturday's game against Utah||Questionable||Shoulder|
|Marqise Lee||WR||10/20/2013||Questionable for Saturday's game against Utah||Questionable||Knee|
|Tre Madden||RB||10/20/2013||Questionable for Saturday's game against Utah||Questionable||Hamstring|
|Steven Mitchell||WR||08/08/2013||Will miss the entire season||Out||Knee|
|D.J. Morgan||RB||10/20/2013||Questionable for Saturday's game against Utah||Questionable||Knee|
|Devian Shelton||CB||09/27/2013||Will miss the remainder of the season||Out||Foot|
|Greg Townsend Jr||DL||09/27/2013||Will miss the remainder of the season||Out||Knee|
Which Cody Kessler Shows Up?
The Trojans go as sophomore quarterback Cody Kessler does.
When Kessler is on his game and the play-calling is sound, the Trojans typically emerge victorious. Unfortunately, Kessler has been erratic at best and has completed less than 60 percent of his passes in four games this year. He has also thrown eight touchdowns to five interceptions.
Even worse, Utah allows just 255 yards passing per game with a 57.9 completion percentage.
While he has played better under Orgeron, Kessler needs to elevate his game in order to pull out an important conference win. A 58.8 completion percentage with an interception isn't going to get it done, which was Kessler's line in the 14-10 loss last week.
Which team wins?
Should Kessler play well, this one could be close.
But Utah and quarterback Travis Wilson have little issue putting up points in a hurry. Wilson and Co. were able to drop 27 points on Top 25 defenses UCLA and Stanford, so reaching that point again versus USC is not out of the question.
USC is at home, but accounting for Wilson and his over 1,600 yards passing and 300 rushing yards, not to mention his 19 total touchdowns, will be difficult for the Trojans defense. This is especially the case after an emotional, physically demanding loss to Notre Dame on the road a week ago.
Kelly and the Utes will find a way to put enough points on the board to pull out the win.
Final Score: Utes win 28-27.
Follow B/R's Chris Roling on Twitter for more news and analysis @Chris_Roling