The Ducks are in a hunt for a trip to the BCS National Championship game, even though the BCS computers don't seem to agree. No. 3 in the first BCS standings released, the Ducks currently sit at No. 4 behind Alabama, Kansas State, and Notre Dame.
The only knock on the Ducks? Their strength of schedule through the first eight games of the season. USC is arguably their first true test in 2012. However, after the Trojans' 39-36 loss at Arizona, even this test can be called into question. The Ducks shutout Arizona at the end of September in Eugene, 49-0.
Now No. 17 in the BCS standings, it would take a college football storm of Sandy proportions to get USC back in the conversation for a trip to Miami in January. But a win over Oregon on Saturday will keep them in the hunt to play in the Pac-12 title game and even a trip to the Rose Bowl. The Trojans are currently 4-2 in Pac-12 South action. Both UCLA and Arizona State have two losses and both remain on the Trojans' schedule following Oregon.
"We all know we screwed up last week," USC Coach Lane Kiffin said this week. "We should've won the (Arizona) game. We're moving forward, and it's good to have a game like this."
The last time the Ducks lost was 11 games ago, the opponent just happened to be the then-No. 18 Trojans. "It was a great victory, it was a battle," said quarterback Matt Barkley of last year's game. "(We) kind of got ahead and then it ended up being a close game. Just remembering that, not to let off the gas pedal if that happens again because of their offense and how quickly they can score."
Oregon is currently an 8.5 point favorite over USC. This is the first time in 15 years the Trojans have been an underdog in the Coliseum by more than a touchdown.