- Kevin Gemmell, ESPN Staff Writer
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The game we've been talking about for months is finally here -- USC and Oregon. Granted, it lacks the national pizzazz that it once carried because the Trojans have dropped two games along the way, but USC could be huge spoilers if they pull out a win against the visiting Ducks.
But can they?
That's your Thursday poll question this week. How do you see the game going down on Saturday?
USC wins by two or more touchdowns: Matt Barkley & Co. breakout in a major way and the Ducks are no match for the Trojans' passing attack. Marqise Lee and Robert Woods have huge games, USC's defense stands up to the Oregon offense and Marcus Mariota is rattled under the bright lights of the Los Angeles Coliseum. A certain Pac-12 blogger is summoned to Bristol and receives 20 lashes for voting the Ducks No. 1 in his top 25 poll.
USC wins a tight game: Not unlike last year at Autzen, the Ducks and Trojans played a tight one that ended up in USC's favor, 38-35. The loss ended a 21-game home winning streak for the Ducks. Could we see another tight one? Both teams score, but the Trojans make a few more key stops that gives them the win.
Oregon wins a tight game: There's some question that the Ducks haven't really been tested into the fourth quarter this year. But there are plenty of Oregon players with experience in tight games. A late De'Anthony Thomas punt return for a touchdown might make the difference, or a 13-play drive with Kenjon Barner carrying 12 times to run out the clock helps the Ducks squeak one out in LA. They don't get style points, but they get a "W."
Oregon wins by two or more touchdowns: The Ducks have done it all year long to everyone they have faced. Why should this week be any different? USC won't be able to match Oregon's speed. The well-rested Thomas goes for 300 all-purpose yards. Barner breaks 100-yards for the fifth straight week and gets two on the ground. Mariota is flawless in his execution and carves up the USC secondary. A certain Pac-12 blogger is slightly vindicated for having the Ducks No. 1 in his top 25.
6-3 in overtime (winner is irrelevant): Regardless of the winner, SEC fans nod their heads in approval now that the Pac-12 is finally playing "real" football.