|USC quarterback Matt Barkley put up huge numbers last Saturday but took a loss to Oregon. (AP)|
Kickoff: Saturday, 3 p.m. ET (Pac-12 Network)
Spread: USC by 9
Watchability: There should be a lot of interest for this matchup. This is always a pretty good game -- the Sun Devils are a good team and the Trojans should be hungry to make up for a tough loss to Oregon.
Shining Stars: Arizona State -- QB Taylor Kelly. Kelly was leading the Pac-12 in passing efficiency for a long stretch, but he's fallen off along with the Sun Devils. The Trojans have been susceptible to the pass, though, and Kelly could regain his footing this week. USC -- DB Jawanza Starling. Starling had nine tackles against the Ducks in the Trojans' loss, but he really does his damage in turnovers. He has three interceptions this season, just behind deammate Dion Bailey's four.
Who could steal the show: Arizona State -- DL Will Sutton. One of the true big, bad, boys of the conference, a knee injury kept Sutton from being 100 percent for a stretch. But he leads the conference in sacks, and he should tee off against the Trojans. USC -- QB Matt Barkley. Barkley has been far from perfect this year, but he doesn't deserve anywhere near the amount of criticism leveled at him. He could finish the year near 4,000 yards and 40 touchdowns. Not bad. Not bad at all.
You going? Ranking the road trip: This one is up there. Los Angeles, in November, is still sunny. That's worth heading west.
Magic number for Arizona State: 2.89. The Sun Devils rank 100th nationally with almost three sacks allowed per game. Against an opportunistic USC defense, they can't have that.
Magic number for USC: 3. As in, three more losses than we expected out of USC this season. The preseason No. 1 team has taken a nose-dive, and Lane Kiffin's got some 'splainin to do.
The game comes down to: USC's pass rush. Kelly has been good this year, but seems to break down under pressure, as most quarterbacks do. He's no exception, and the Trojans are going to hound him.
Prediction: USC 43, Arizona State 31