There will be more than bragging rights on the line when USC and UCLA square off on Saturday. It's reminiscient of 2002, when the Trojans scored a decisive victory.
A big win over Arizona State, led by the beleaguered defense, has USC feeling good heading into a huge showdown with rival UCLA.
USC's offensive stars in their part in a 38-17 win over Arizona State, but it was the surprisingly dominate play of the defense that really shined.
Still reeling from losses to Arizona and Oregon, the USC Trojans must brace for fresh challenges from high-scoring Arizona State and UCLA.
After coming up short against Oregon on Saturday, USC can only hope to see Oregon again in the Pac-12 title game.
While USC's offense was prolific and the Trojans kept fighting back, they were a step behind No. 4 Oregon at all times in the Ducks' 62-51 victory Saturday.
No one's been able to figure out Oregon's offense this year, and for the Trojans to have a shot, they're going to need great linebacker play.
Coming off a bitterly disappointing loss to Arizona, the Trojans find themselves searching for answers as it tries to close out the season on a positive.
With USC's offense coming off a season-best performance and Arizona taking to Rich Rodriguez's spread attack, Saturday's matchup could produce big point totals.
For a team that was growing tired of hearing questions about what was wrong with its offense, Saturday's lopsided win was the perfect tonic.
On a record-setting afternoon, the USC Trojans finally put together the kind of overall game they needed to build momentum for the stretch run.
The Trojans have plenty of star talent to lead the way for the remainder of the season but for the team to reach their goals it will need to rely on an unexpected contributor at some point.
The Trojans conclude a stretch of four our of five on the road with Saturday's game at Washington.
Preseason expectations had USC hoping to ride a veteran OL while riding out growing pains from a young DL. The first four games haven't exactly played out in that way.
To recover from a disappointing loss to Stanford, No. 13 USC relied on an old friend, rushing for 296 yards in a 27-9 victory over California.
USC was counting on better pass defense this season. But because of questions at the cornerback spot opposite Nickell Robey, that hasn't happened yet.