Is Arizona the real deal this year? The Wildcats beat Oregon last year in the midst of a fairly mediocre season, but this year feels different. They'll find out more on where they stand Saturday night, when they host the USC Trojans.
Under first-year head coach Steve Sarkisian, the Trojans have had a wildly inconsistent start to the season. They took down one of the Pac-12's finest in Stanford, but followed that up by being absolutely pummeled on the ground in a loss to Boston College. After a convincing win over Oregon State, USC lost to Arizona State in heartbreaking fashion, with some awful Hail Mary defense preceded by a complete fourth-quarter collapse.
Arizona, meanwhile, has been one of the nation's biggest surprises, and Rich Rodriguez continues to build a solid program there. Freshman quarterback Anu Solomon has largely been able to avoid the expected hiccups from a young quarterback, and helped lead the team to its second straight win over Oregon its last time out. Arizona's running game gets a lot of credit, but the Wildcats have one of the deepest wide receiving units in the nation.
How to watch, listen, and stream
Game time: 10:30 p.m. ET
Radio: USC games are available on ESPN Radio. For a list of Arizona affiliates, check here.
Online streaming: WatchESPN
Rankings and records: Arizona is ranked No. 10 in the AP Top 25 and No. 13 in the Coaches Poll. USC is not ranked in either poll. The Wildcats are 5-0 this season, with a 2-0 record in Pac-12 play. The Trojans are 3-2, with a 2-1 conference record. USC holds a 28-8 all-time series lead.
Vegas: USC is a 2.5-point favorite. The over/under is 68 points.
Weather forecast: 60 degrees with clear skies.
Two things at stake
With a win, Arizona would take a pretty dominating lead in the Pac-12 South.
A loss for USC would put the Trojans in a difficult position, needing three wins out of their last six games (which include three against ranked teams) to make a bowl.
One big matchup
Arizona rushing offense vs. USC rushing defense. The Wildcats have a pair of shifty running backs who are among the Pac-12's most explosive playmakers in freshman Nick Wilson (6.4 yards per carry, six touchdowns) and senior Terris Jones-Grigsby (5.9 yards per carry, three touchdowns). Arizona has run for more than 200 yards in every game but one, and could make easy work out of a Trojans rushing defense that has struggled at times this season.
The Trojans' front seven has improved over the last two weeks, holding Oregon State and Arizona State to a combined 89 yards on 43 rushing attempts. Before that? It was a struggle, allowing 452 yards on the ground against Boston College (with five touchdowns) and giving up 4.8 yards per carry against Fresno State.