Style points matter, or so we’ve heard since the beginning of time. With USC visiting the Washington Huskies this week, does that mean that the Trojans have to match the 38-point and 31-point margins that the LSU Tigers and Oregon Ducks beat UW by respectively? Not exactly.
When LSU and Oregon met the Huskies, they were both national broadcasts on ESPN, but they weren’t billed as marquee games and they were upstaged by higher profile affairs. This Saturday, Washington gets USC in a national primetime telecast on FOX, with the always exuberant Gus Johnson, all but guaranteeing that more eyes will be on the Trojans’ than were on the Ducks in their 10:30 p.m. eastern victory this past Saturday. For pollsters, that matters.
With the spotlight, the Trojans just have to win, win convincingly and stay within their limits, but they don’t have to match their peers tit for tat. While a 38-point victory might convince the Scott Wolfs of the world, the reality is that it’s a tall task for Troy to beat Washington by the same margin, considering they’re playing in Seattle and in an extremely loud and daunting NFL venue that strong favors Washington. Compare that to Death Valley and Autzen Stadium, the two hardest places in the game to play, both at night, and it’s easy to see why the score doesn’t matter.
Plus, Washington is just better at home. They’ve won 10 of 11 games in the city of Seattle and are 4-0 at CenturyLink Field dating back to last season, including a 17-13 win over Stanford two weeks ago when the Cardinal were ranked No. 8 at the time.
USC matches up very well with Washington, and they very well could rout UW like they did in 2011, but despite the prevalence on ‘style points’ and the like, Lane Kiffin’s Trojans are more concerned with getting the win and not beating themselves, than beating LSU and Oregon.