No. 2 Oregon at No. 17 USC. The game of the year. Everyone has been waiting for this game to be played and we are just hours away from it kicking off and the Pac-12 bragging rights will be won. Last season Oregon and USC was the game of the year with USC pulling out the road upset. This season Oregon hopes to go on the road and win as well.
Will Kenjon Barner and De'Anthony Thomas have big games Saturday night?
Below is what I am looking forward to seeing develop as the game goes on:
Will the hype be true?
All off-season long and into this season this game was labeled as the game of the year and maybe even game of the year on a national landscape. While USC enters today 6-2 and no longer ranked No. 1 in the nation it still carries a ton of hype.
I am going to be curious to see how the Ducks and the Trojans play. Both teams have been waiting for today for a very long time. Will there be any jitters on either side? Will it be a close battle or one that is a blowout? Who is more composed? Who is more rattled?
Marcus Mariota vs Matt Barkley
The league's best quarterback against maybe the league's best young gun. This game is going to be a changing of the guard. Barkley leaves the Pac-12 following this season likely a top-10 pick in this spring's NFL Draft. Mariota still has years to play and could be the league's best quarterback next season.
Barkley wants nothing more than to get back to NYC for the Heisman Award and at the same time ruin Oregon's national title chances. Mariota wants to prove to the nation on a national stage he's a legit quarterback passing and isn't just a duel threat guy.
I'll be curious to see this game play out and see who has the better game. Who makes the first mistake? Who plays cool and collected? Will both guys have huge games?
De'Anthony Thomas' Return home
Everyone has been waiting for this one to start for awhile and I am certain DAT has been waiting for a long time to come home and play in front of friends and family.
It isn't a secret that DAT's success on the field translates to epic success for Oregon. How will USC defend him? How will Oregon deploy him? What will the mood of the stadium be for Thomas who spurned the Trojans at the last second?
Pressure on the Ducks but Trojans?
With USC coming into this game with two losses and Oregon still undefeated I get this feel and maybe you do too that USC has nothing to lose and everything to gain. They lose? So what they were out of the title anyways and for some this season has become a loss already so what would another loss do. That should allow the USC Trojans to play cool and collected with no stress or pressure to a sense on their shoulders.
Oregon however enters a game in hostile territory and everything to gain and everything to lose. We thought ASU would be that first test for Oregon and it was but lets also be honest that ASU team isn't this USC team and Sun Devil Stadium isn't the Colosseum. How will Oregon handle the game?
Will an Oregon receiver have a breakout game?
Everyone is focused on Oregon's running game and the legs of Marcus Mariota will we see a big game from an Oregon receiver? Last time Oregon played down here senior Jeff Maehl had a huge game catching and scoring touchdowns. Will Oregon have a similar performance from someone like maybe Josh Huff?