Seahawks Stadium, which is now CenturyLink Field in Seattle, will host a huge North / South battle between two longtime adversaries, the #11 University of Southern California Trojans and the Washington Huskies. The Pac-12 Conference showdown is Saturday (October 13) at 4:00PM Pacific Time and will be broadcast nationally on FOX.
Both of these squads came into the season amid high expectations with of course, the Trojans thinking national championship with a #1 ranking to begin the season. USC has rebounded from a loss to Stanford with two wins and they now stand 4-1 overall and 2-1 in the Pac-12. Washington has two losses this year (3-2 overall, 1-1 in Pac-12) but they were road contests at #3 LSU and #2 Oregon. On the other hand, the Huskies won at home versus a #8 Stanford. So as you can see, Washington beat Stanford who beat USC, which means you could figure the Huskies would be the favorite - but they're not.
When these two schools play, there's always the added dimension that they know each other well. The two head coaches, Steve Sarkisian who runs the show with the Washington Huskies and Lane Kiffin for the USC Trojans, are friends having worked as assistants while at USC under Pete Carroll (source - L.A. Times). They shared offensive coordinators duties for a couple years.
The Washington offense is led by quarterback Keith Price but his and the team's efforts have been lacking on offense. They had five turnovers versus Oregon last week plus Price had two interceptions. Against top-tiered defenses in three games, Price has one touchdown pass and four interceptions. The Husky running game hasn't been all that great either, with the lone exception of running back Bishop Sankey who has three straight 100 yard rushing games.
The USC defense has been somewhat of a surprise this year, especially the defensive line which is ranked in the Top 25 in the nation against the rush. The secondary of the Trojans was thought to be the best unit on defense however it has some weaknesses. But whether Washington will be able to take advantage is the question.
The Husky defense has done very well against the pass but the question may be whether they have played a quarterback extraordinaire like USC's Matt Barkley and his gang. The Washington rushing defense is questionable but the Trojans don't run a lot. This will be an interesting area to watch.
The crowd advantage is always big for the Huskies. But will it be a big enough advantage to pressure USC and Barkley into mistakes? This game was hard for me to figure but I ended up going with the overall effective talent edge the Trojans have. The game will be close but just like USC did versus Utah in their last game, when they get going, not many teams can stop them. Final predicted score: USC 31 - Washington 20.
After this game, it will mark the halfway point of the season for both schools. The Huskies will go on the road after this battle and play at Arizona. The Trojans will be home the following week and host Colorado.
If Washington could pull off the upset, every game they have left on their schedule is winnable - so this game means an awful lot to the Huskies. For USC, there are very few games where they won't be challenged by tough opponents, particularly their last five games. A lot rides on this gridiron matchup for both squads.
Sources - University of Washington, University of Southern California
Daryle lived in Los Angeles Ca. most of his life and has been a longtime fan of USC and the Pac-12, having closely followed the Trojans since he was just a youngster. Fight On!
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