Pac-12 championship game preview: USC vs. Stanford

Holiday Bowl is important for USC’s coach and players

USC Coach Clay Helton reacts after an interception by Trojans cornerback Iman Marshall against UCLA on Nov. 28.

(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

USC will get a second chance -- with a new head coach -- to defeat Stanford on Saturday in the Pac-12 Conference championship game at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.

The Cardinal eased to a 41-31 victory over the Trojans in September.

Since then, USC has fired coach Steve Sarkisian and Clay Helton has earned the permanent job.

Stanford, ranked seventh in the College Football Playoff rankings, is 10-2 overall and 8-1 in the Pac-12. A victory over USC would keep the Cardinal in the playoff discussion. 


Last week, Stanford defeated Notre Dame, 38-36. 

Gary Klein and Lindsey Thiry preview the Pac-12 Conference championship game, USC vs. Stanford.

USC, ranked 20th, is 8-4 overall and 6-3 in the Pac-12. The Trojans are coming off a dominant 40-21 victory over UCLA, and a win against Stanford could send them to the Rose Bowl.

USC and Stanford are scheduled to kick off at 4:45 p.m. PST; the game will be broadcast on ESPN.