Get up for GameDay, Los Angeles.
USC looks dramatically improved under Ed Orgeron and stands as good a shot as any at knocking off the Cardinal, but will that be enough to stop the unstoppable force that is the Stanford offensive line? As Utah has shown, the key is to meet Stanford's physicality man for man. The Trojans are currently strapped for depth due to the ongoing effects of sanctions, so that will be a factor to watch all game.
On the other side of the field, Stanford will have to worry about Marqise Lee and Nelson Agholor, a receiving duo about as good as any west of LSU. The Cardinal slowed Josh Huff and Bralon Addison last week, but Lee and Agholor are in a different league.
Rankings and records: After its huge win over Oregon, Stanford moved up to No. 4 in the BCS rankings, while USC remains on the outside looking in. The Cardinal have won four straight in the series, beginning with a 55-21 victory in 2009. They still trail 58-29-3 all-time.
Vegas: Stanford is a four-point favorite. The over/under is 46 points.
Weather: Mostly cloudy in Los Angeles, but no chance of rain. A projected high of 71, low of 52.
Three names to know
David Yankey (Stanford left guard) - No player exemplifies Stanford's leave-nothing-standing philosophy better than Yankey, one of the nation's finest left guards. One of Stanford's favorite plays is to pull the 6'5, 313-pound senior and run power right ...
Hayes Pullard (USC linebacker) - ... which will likely lead him right into the path of Pullard, the team's leading tackler with 60 on the year. Four of those have gone for loss, and the third-year starter is more than adept at pass coverage, having six passes defensed all on his own.
Tyler Gaffney (Stanford running back) - He won't wow anyone with his speed, but expect to see a heavy dose of Gaffney, who carried 45 times against Oregon. This is especially true on any short-yardage situations -- Gaffney was 7 of 7 in converting third-and-2 or less last Thursday. Good luck, USC.
Two things at stake
USC is now 4-1 in the Ed Orgeron era, and while the Trojans have little chance of catching either team atop the Pac-12 South, they still stand to benefit greatly with a win. There are all the standard implications that such a victory has in recruiting, postseason bowl positioning, as well as what it means in terms of national perception, but the Trojans could make it back into the realm of the ranked, too. They haven't finished a season in the Top 25 since 2011.
With its sneakily dominant victory over Oregon, Stanford controls its own destiny as far as the Rose Bowl goes. The Cardinal have a one-game lead over the Ducks, and barring a huge upset this week or next, will be heading to the Pac-12 Championship Game. If any two teams above them lose, they are sure to slip into the BCS National Championship Game, and if even one loses, there's a chance they could jump undefeated Ohio State.
How to witness
TV: 8 p.m. ET, ABC