This week's game of the week is #9 USC Trojans (6-1, 3-1 Pac-10) at the Oregon Ducks (6-1, 3-1 Pac-10). I was split as to which game I wished to attack (Cal at Arizona State looked appetizing also, but hey, I like a little Turkish Duck), but in the end decided to be a homer.
The Trojans are coming into this game off of their biggest win of the year, scoring-wise, but before that, they scuffled through a three game stretch against Washington, Stanford, and Arizona, where they were only +9 in points differential. Their defense however, has performed up to the lofty expectations placed upon them before the season. Having linebacker Brian Cushing coming back from injury makes that defense just that much better.
The quarterback position for the Men of Troy is still a question mark. John David Booty (more than likely) will miss another game with a broken finger on his throwing hand, and relatively unproven backup Mark Sanchez (more than likely) will get the start in his place. How Sanchez handles his first true road test will determine the fate of USC this week.
The Ducks, however, are rolling along coming into this game. The defense doesn't look nearly as good as it did against Michigan, but it doesn't really matter when you consider that U of O has the number two scoring and yardage offenses, and does it more with running the ball than throwing it.
Said offense for Oregon is still amazing, even after losing recievers Brian Paysinger and Cameron Colvin, and running back Jeremiah Johnson. Running back Jonathan Stewart is in the top five nationally with just under 150 yards per game, and QB Dennis Dixon is the best dual-threat quarterback in the nation, hands down. As long as they can burn USC with two or three big runs with Stewart early in the game, they should be able to run all of the playfakes and options that the offense are designed around.
In the end, the Ducks should be able to contain the USC offense long enough for their own offense to take over the game. Final Score: Oregon 27, USC 24.
The game is at 3:00 PM Eastern on Saturday, October 27th.