Last time an embattled USC coach took the field against Arizona State, Lane Kiffin got fired in an airport. We don’t think Clay Helton is that near the chopping block, but Arizona State is not to be taken lightly. We’re still not sure just how good the Sun Devils are, but we do know they’re more than capable of scoring points in droves.
If things don’t go well for the Trojans Saturday night, the natives may begin to get restless in Los Angeles – if they haven't already, that is. A loss against Utah last week left USC at 1-3, and further losses can't be anything but terrible for head coach Clay Helton's job security. The Trojans are also in danger of posting a seriously crooked record, the type that could bruise egos at a place accustomed to winning lots of games. USC just doesn't look right.
Arizona State's played some good and some not so good games, but the Sun Devils enter off an exciting, offense-packed win against Cal last week. It's tough to know what they'll get in playing USC, but running up another high score doesn't seem like such a bad strategy.
How to watch, stream and listen
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, FOX. The broadcasters are Joe Davis, Brady Quinn, and Jenny Taft.
Online streaming: Fox Sports GO
Spread: The Trojans enter the game as a 10-point favorite.
Make friends: Get to SB Nation's team blog chats for this game at Conquest Chronicles (for Trojans) and House of Sparky (for Sun Devils).
Three big things to know
1. If the game comes down to a kick, bet big on Arizona State’s Zane Gonzales. In a world dominated by #collegekickers, Gonzales is closing in on an NCAA record for points and field goals. Having a reliable kicker is a great way to be inoculated against late-night Pac-12 shenanigans, and Arizona State's definitely got one.
2. Cameron Smith remains an absolute force for USC. The linebacker is fifth in the nation with solo tackles and is tied for sixth nationally in total tackles. He will disrupt everything Arizona State tries to do if they let him. There are plenty of reasons USC has started so slowly, but Smith isn't one of them. He's been great.
3. Sam Darnold will make another start for USC. The young quarterback played well in the loss to Utah, but can he pass the test in a game that could end up turning into a shootout? That's always a danger in Arizona State-involved games, but Darnold's a good player. He could do some damage with both his arm and his legs, and the Trojans will need him to be good.