NCAA Football – Week 3
The USC Trojans started the season at the top of the polls, but the amazing play of Alabama has bumped them back to number two. USC has showed their offensive firepower in both of their first two victories this year. Stanford lost their star quarterback, and there are a lot of questions about how good this team can be in 2012. The Cardinal host the Trojans this weekend in a huge PAC 12 Conference matchup.
Matt Barkley came into the season as the Heisman Trophy frontrunner and he hasn’t done anything to hurt that status in his first two games. In fact, Barkley has 10 touchdowns and just one interception in two contests. He has an impressive 67.6% completion rate. No team in the country has a better pair of receivers than Robert Woods and Marqise Lee. Both of them have four touchdown receptions through two games. Silas Redd was a huge pickup for USC in the offseason. Redd is averaging 6.8 yards per carry so far this year. This USC offense is one of the most explosive in the nation.
Monte Kiffin’s defense gave up a lot of yards against Syracuse last week, but this unit seems to be quickly improving from where they were last season. Dion Bailey had two interceptions last week to lead the team to victory. The Trojans have a lot of team speed all over the field, but they don’t have nearly as much depth as normal. USC needs to stay healthy on this side of the ball if they are going to make a run at a national title.
Stanford obviously has a gaping hole on offense without Andrew Luck at quarterback, but as good as he was the team does still have some very solid players on this side of the ball. Stepfan Taylor has proven to be a very good running back, and he has a solid offensive line to run the ball behind. The Cardinal must find a way to establish the running game in this one if they are going to beat USC. Josh Nunes struggled in week one, but he threw for 275 yards and three touchdowns in last week’s win over Duke. Stanford lost its top three receivers from a year ago, so finding play makers on the outside is also a high priority right now.
The Stanford defense was much improved last year, and they should be very good again this year. The Cardinal have come up with four interceptions in the first two games, so they are an opportunistic bunch. The secondary will get a major test this week when the USC receivers come to town. Will they be able to keep up with the speedsters from Southern California?
USC is going to score quite a few points against every team they play this year. They are just a very good offense. I think Stanford will put up a few more than most people believe as well. Look for a high scoring contest.
USC 38 Stanford 24