It appears the Beavers’ loss to Washington State may weigh negatively on USC. Lane Kiffin commented on Wednesday after practice that he was unhappy with the intensity of the practices and thought the Trojans were feeling too good about themselves after their solid win at Arizona. Trap game anybody?
ESPN Pac-10 Blogger Ted Miller:
"Power Rankings: 3. USC: After losing three of four and inspiring some to wonder if USC would pack it in, the Trojans have showed some grit during back-to-back wins over the Arizona schools. A 10-win season now seems possible, which would give Lane Kiffin’s critics a sandwich made with ham and a generous slathering of shut up. 10. Oregon State: This is mostly a symbolic position — the Beavers have won three Pac-10 games after all — but is there any more miserable program in the conference this week? The answer is no. Quick Preview: No. 20 USC (7-3, 4-3) at Oregon State (4-5, 3-3), ABC, 8 p.m.: The Trojans have lost two of three in Reser Stadium, and even the victory was a nailbiter. Of course, those Beavers teams weren’t in the dumps like this one, which has lost three of four Pac-10 games and hit rock bottom with a home loss to Washington State last weekend. What to watch for: Big day for Barkley: Oregon State ranks ninth in the Pac-10 in passing efficiency defense. Opponents are completing 63.5 percent of their passes and the Beavers have yielded 17 TD throws. USC QB Matt Barkley is third in the conference in passing efficiency and leads the conference with 25 TD passes. Toss in a solid Trojans run game, which the Beavers’ struggling front needs to account for first, and you have a recipe for Barkley to put up big numbers. Predictions: USC 40, Oregon State 24: USC is rolling. Oregon State is not. The Trojans luck in the state of Oregon will change. It just doesn’t seem reasonable to believe that a defense that got pushed around by Washington State has a chance to slow down USC."
The Los Angeles Times:
Without a doubt, USC’s pass defense has struggled throughout the season. In the preseason, many believed that the pass rush would shadow the deficiencies in the young secondary. Against Oregon State, the defensive line intends to be in hot pursuit.
Running back Marc Tyler missed much of the 2009 season due to injury. Saturday against Arizona, he carried the rock 31 times, the most since Sultan McCullough eight years ago. Naturally, Tyler is sore but happy after his stellar performance.
Unfortunately, USC hasn’t won in the state of Oregon since 2005. This week, center Kris O’Dowd described Corvallis as eerie and mentioned that the Trojans are switching hotels after losing four straight. As Gary Klein explains, Corvallis hasn’t been kind.
The Orange Country Register:
As mentioned above, the circumstances for Saturday’s game could brew up an upset. The Trojans are feeling high and mighty, while Oregon State has a chip on their shoulder after a very embarassing loss. This week’s contest is the textbook trap game.
Lane Kiffin has taken a fair amount of criticism ever since he accepted the position at USC. Despite the awful circumstances, he has the Trojans within striking distance of ten wins. Remember, Pete Carroll only went 9-4 in his final season in Troy.
Often, it is easy to forget that Matt Barkley is only a true sophomore in his second as USC’s quarterback. He isn’t going to be perfect, and part of the mistakes he makes are the result of him learning. After all, he is still a work in progress.
In the past two games, we have seen Matt Barkley overthrow Robert Woods and under-throw Ronald Johnson on potential touchdowns down the field. The root of the problem? Timing.
Allen Bradford turned in a whale of a performance against Washington, running for over 200 yards. Since then, he has fumbled the ball too often and played his way out of the running back rotation. With his career winding down, Bradford seeks carries and redemption.