Is USC a legitimate Pac-12 contender? The Trojans sure looked it in their season-opening drubbing of Fresno State, but they'll face a much stauncher test Saturday in their Pac-12 opener at Stanford.
The Trojans beat the Bulldogs 52-13 Saturday, making easy work of a team that should compete for the Mountain West title. Quarterback Cody Kessler looked comfortable in the new offense, and USC used a number of young, talented playmakers (including a two-way player) to dial up points.
Stanford, meanwhile, hosted FCS UC Davis in its opener, winning that game 45-0. The Aggies were held to 115 yards of offense, averaging 2.5 yards per pass and somehow less (2.3) per rush. The Cardinal used 10 different players to average 4.7 yards per rush and saw an excellent performance from starting quarterback Kevin Hogan (12 of 16, 204 yards, three touchdowns).
How to witness
TV: 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC
Radio: USC games can be found on ESPN radio. Here's a list of Stanford affiliates.
Online streaming: ESPN3
Rankings and records: Stanford is ranked No. 13 in the AP Poll and No. 10 in the Coaches Poll. USC is ranked No. 14 in both polls. Both teams are 1-0 on the season, and this is the Pac-12 opener for both schools. USC holds the 58-29-3 all-times series lead, and shocked the Cardinal in an upset last season.
Vegas: Stanford is a 3-point favorite, with an over/under of 54.5 points. The line started with Stanford -4, moving slightly toward the Trojans since it opened.
Weather forecast: 81 and clear.
Three names to know
Barry Sanders, RB, Stanford. Yes, he's the son of that Barry Sanders. Yes, he's very good. After playing mostly as a specialist last season, Sanders led the Cardinal in rushing in their opener. The junior carried the ball seven times for 43 yards, adding two receptions to the mix.
Javorius Allen, RB, USC. The junior ran 22 times for 133 yards and a touchdown against Fresno State while also catching a 23-yard pass. The bruiser is now listed at 6'1, 220 pounds and will help create a must-see matchup against the physical Stanford defense.
Adoree' Jackson, DB/WR, USC. Crosstown rival UCLA found success last season with two-way true freshman Myles Jack, and the Trojans are hoping to do the same with five-star true freshman Jackson. Jackson caught three passes for 36 yards and a touchdown while recording a tackle at cornerback. Fellow five-star freshman JuJu Smith, who caught four passes for 123 yards against Fresno State, is also expected to play both ways.
Two things at stake
USC has an opportunity to quickly silence the Sarkisian doubters, building off its blowout defeat of Fresno State into what would be a quite incredible win against a fellow Pac-12 title contender.
Stanford has been one of the most consistent programs in the nation in recent history, but hasn't brought home the national hardware to prove it. The Cardinal have won two straight Pac-12 titles but haven't quite been able to convert that success into an appearance in the national championship. The addition of the playoff gives them their best chance yet of getting a shot at the national title.