There’s going to be a good ole’ football showdown in California this Saturday, September 6, at high noon. Well, 12:30. No. 14 USC will face its rival No. 13 Stanford on the Cardinal field in an early Pac-12 battle. The rivalry sparked in 2007, when Stanford beat the then No. 1 Trojans in a stunning 24-23 upset. Although USC broke a four-game Stanford win streak in 2013 (the Trojans beat the Cardinal 20-17 in LA), Stanford is a three-point favorite this time around. The Trojans are eager to prove the bookies wrong.
Rod Gilmore of ESPN points out that USC is a bit undermanned and young: “the Trojans have only 62 of their 67 scholarship players available (most teams have the maximum 85) and will start four freshmen with another nine listed as backups who are expected to play.” But the Trojans are ready to rally round their cause, especially after losing their cornerback Josh Shaw to an indefinite suspension. (In a strange story, Shaw lied about jumping out of second-story window to save his 7-year-old nephew from drowning in a pool. Didn’t happen.) Shaw apologized for lying but his team can’t help but be affected by the controversy. USC coach Steve Sarkisian intends to turn that embarrassment into unity and strength on the football field.