All right, let me just start off saying I am a true Trojan hater, but they are hands down the best team on the West Coast. They have the fiercest defense in the country—they have given up an unheard of 87 points all season.
Let me just say I love Penn State. Joe Pa is the best to ever coach the game. Penn State also has a highly touted defense, but not quite the numbers that USC has. They have given up only 148 points, which is still a stellar stat.
The downside to the Nittany Lions is they rely on certain players to come up big in each game, which can come back and bite you just like what happened at Iowa. When you look at the Trojans, they have so many weapons. If McKnight can't do anything, Gable comes up big—when it's not Gable or McKnight, it's Stafon Johnson (all of whom average over five yards a carry and have over 600 yards rushing for the season).
They also have a very talented receiving corps. Five of them have over 20 catches on the year, and three have over 400 yards receiving. The same three (Patrick Turner, Ronald Johnson, and Damian Williams) have caught more than five TDs each.
The Nittany Lions solely rely on four players (Daryll Clark, Evan Royster, Derrick Williams, and Deon Butler). If those players don't perform well, they WILL lose—that is exactly what happened at Iowa
Here is what the game is going to come down to: If the Trojans get pressure on Daryll Clark and make him force throws, it won't be even close. Their defense is too fast/talented for Royster to slash and dash against.
I usually would hate to compare scores, but the Nittany Lions beat Ohio State by seven, while USC beat them by 32. Then again, Penn St. did beat them at the Horseshoe.
Penn State X-factor = Daryll Clark
USC X-factor = Defense