That's Why They Play The Game: USC Visits Stanford Today

Chris BallContributor INovember 15, 2008

On paper the USC Trojans are a far superior team than the Stanford Cardinal...on paper.

However, this does not necessarily mean that the Trojans are going to put up a 56-0 score at Stanford Stadium today.

In fact, history has shown that USC has struggled with games like this in the past (see: USC vs. UCLA in 2006 and, more notably, and more germane, USC vs. Stanford in 2007).

I know, I know.  USC has already lost their big upset this year, right?  

Once again, not necessarily. 

Who says that USC is limited to only one upset a year?  That has been their trend, but the PAC-10, including USC, has been really weak this year. 

Last week USC did all they could, but were unsuccessful in their attempt to give away a game to a good, but inferior Cal team.

Should the Trojans make similar mistakes and suffer mental breakdowns again this week against another inferior PAC-10 team, expect another close game that might not swing in their favor.

Many teams "get up" to play Pete Carroll's mighty Trojans, but PAC-10 teams live for these games. 

You can expect Jim Harbaugh's Cardinal to be extremely pumped up to play in front of, what should be, their largest home crowd this year—it shouldn't be hard to top their average attendance of 12.  

Plus, Stanford is actually in Bowl contention this year.

Today, USC can expect a heavy dose of Toby Gerhart in an attempt to keep Matt Sanchez and Co. off the field. Toby is not like a speed demon like Javid Best and Shane Vereen of Cal. 

Gerhart is a BRUISER, capable of pounding the line for an entire game.  He may not have the huge yardage totals like other backs, but he helps the Cardinal offense grind out 1st downs, keep drives alive, and punctuate drives with goal line scores.

Although USC is favored by 23.5 points over Stanford today, history shows that it shouldn't simply be expected.