October 30th, 2010, 6pm PST (Week eight)
Los Angeles, California
This is the first year of Kiffin vs. Kelly. It has all the makings of a great rivalry, and this would be the game that decides the Pac-10 champions. One problem.
USC football doesn't mean crap this year. They can't win the Pac-10 and they can't go to a bowl game. I also realized the sanctions against them also prevents a top 25 finish.
Because this slideshow is about who will prevent the Ducks from winning the Pac-10, it only stands to reason that the Trojans are at the bottom of the in conference games.
That being said, there is a good chance USC wins this one. Two reasons:
1) Home field advantage. I say all the time that this alone will not win football games. However it certainly helps. While the Memorial Coliseum isn't one of the toughest in the nation...its certainly no picnic.
2) Matt Barkley. He could be the best of the Pac-10 this year, up there with Jake Locker and Andrew Luck. He has the potential, and a solid supporting cast.
However, the Ducks will win. They simply have more talent, a better coach, and will already have experience in a big stadium after playing in Tennessee. If they don't get rattled there, USC should not be a problem.
The Trojans do not return any preseason All Americans or all conference players. While Matt Barkley has great running backs around him and a few good receivers, it won't match up to Oregon's defense.
Casey Matthews and company will shut 'em down. Simple as that. Albeit a tough game, the Ducks will pull away.
Oregon 31, USC 24