USC pays a visit to Stanford on Saturday, where Christian McCaffrey and No. 7 Cardinal will try to deal the Trojans a second big-game loss in three weeks and a third in a row in the teams' long-running series.
The Trojans had no trouble with Utah State last weekend, which was a good thing, because Alabama put a 52-6 hurting on them the week before. That was a laugher, with former USC coach Lane Kiffin having tons of fun running up the score against a program that once fired him at an airport.
Stanford is a sturdy 1-0, having been off last weekend. The Cardinal notched a perfectly fine home win against Kansas State in their lone game so far, on a night when the Wildcats almost completely bottled up McCaffrey. Of course, almost doesn't cut it, and the junior wound up with 166 yards of offense and a couple of touchdowns. USC's really got to find a way to get McCaffrey off the field, or else it's hard to see how an upset's going to be possible.
How to watch, stream and listen
TV: 8 p.m. ET, ESPN
Online streaming: WatchESPN
Spread: Stanford opened as a 6.5-point favorite. That spread has been growing wider.
Three big things to know
1. USC's historically gotten the better of Stanford, but not lately. The all-time series split is 59-31-3 in the Trojans' favor, since the teams started playing against each other in 1905. But Stanford's won six of eight since 2009, including the last two. They're favored to make it three in a row here, in a third meeting in less than one calendar year.
2. The Trojans need to hold up inside. If they don't, it'll be impossible to find McCaffrey. Stanford's offensive line should be good as ever, and big USC tackles Stevie Tu'ikolovatu and Noah Jefferson will need to win some battles to free up some of the Trojans' edge players to chase down No. 5. McCaffrey hit up the Trojans for 464 yards of offense in two games last year, and USC's not looking for an encore.
3. A test for Ryan Burns. It's Burns' second start since taking over for the departed (and productive) Kevin Hogan. His debut against Kansas State was understated but solid, a 14-of-18 night for 156 yards and a score. USC is a wholly different challenge, though, and Burns will be tested against the Adoree' Jackson-led Trojan secondary.