To me, the Stanford upset in USC in 2007 symbolized a changing of the guard for the college football landscape on the West Coast. The mighty USC Trojans fell at home for the first time in in 30+ games and the Stanford Cardinal slowly but surely took over the reigns of the PAC-12 Conference (I won't forget about Oregon as well!). Nearly a decade later and it's now Stanford as one of the teams to beat in the country and USC trying to find itself in the world of college football.
Those who know me well, definitely know my disdain for USC football. I love the university and the campus. I am also happy that so many of my former students have been able to get an amazing education there and enjoy all the fun stuff that LA has to offer. I have no problem with any of that. What I did have a problem with is the high level of arrogance the USC Trojans displayed during the Pete Carroll era. Yes, the Trojans were a very good football team that accrued a plethora of accolades but if you watch the ESPN documentary "Trojan War" one main takeaway is that USC was a victim of its own success. You can't give these young adults so much adulation like they are Hollywood stars and not think that someone will make a poor choice. The Reggie Bush debacle of course derailed the program and I am certain more stuff like that is happening without it being called out or noticed. However, it was egregious and a high profile player like Reggie Bush and his family should have known better.
OK, so how about analyzing the game today?! Well, the best player on the field between these two teams wears a Cardinal uniform and is arguably the best player in the country. Also, it's a home game for Stanford and Stanford has had a week off. David Shaw, like Jim Harbaugh, doesn't ease up on the Trojans and Stanford has owned USC for the last 9 years winning 7 of the last 10 matchups including a drubbing in the 2nd half of last year's PAC-12 Championship game. Several of those 10 games, however, have been close with an average margin of victory of 5.3 points per game for Stanford.
There have been some epic finishes in this rivalry during the last 9 years but I think today's game won't be as memorable. Stanford, as usual against USC, wins the battle at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and controls the tempo of this game mainly because of one guy named Christian McCaffrey. Stanford wins 31 - 20.