USC, long the giant of the Pacific 10 Conference, is hoping to play spoiler against an Oregon team that not only is the defending conference champion but has designs on a Bowl Championship Series title. This is the first time since 1988 that the Trojans have hosted a No. 1-ranked opponent. Notre Dame won that game and went on to win the national title. Staff writer Gary Klein looks at the game’s key issues and matchups:
Much has been made of Oregon’s team speed and the breakneck pace with which the Ducks run Coach Chip Kelly’s spread-option offense. But USC, which this week indulged in live tackling drills for the first time since training camp, hopes that Oregon continues a trend of being more slow-footed on the road, especially on grass.