Most intriguing story line: USC’s path to the Pac-12 Conference championship game is straightforward but narrow. It must win all four remaining games, and it needs Colorado and Utah to each lose at least one more game. The Trojans’ pursuit starts here, and they are heavily favored. But Oregon is dangerous. The Ducks have defeated USC in four of the last five meetings. “We need to take this game serious as a heart attack,” USC Coach Clay Helton said.
USC pass offense vs. Oregon pass defense: Oregon's numbers on pass defense are deceptive. The Ducks are ranked a lowly 121st (of 128 teams) in yards allowed per game, but that's largely because few teams are passed against more often. Its per-pass average, 7.13 yards, is more middle-of-the-pack — 54th in the nation. That still leaves plenty for quarterback Sam Darnold to carve up. By his standards, Darnold did not play particularly well against California last week. He still finished with 231 yards and five touchdowns, with one pass intercepted. One surprise has been the emergence of USC’s tight ends. Freshman Daniel Imatorbhebhe has three straight games with a touchdown reception.