|UCLA QB Brett Hundley and the Bruins will try to atone for a 50-0 loss suffered at USC last season. (AP)|
Kickoff: Saturday, 3:05 p.m. ET (Fox)
Spread: USC by 4
Watchability: Now that the Bruins have decided to actually field a team? Pretty high. The rivalry has been all USC of late, but UCLA is playing its best ball in years. Maybe ... just maybe.
Shining Stars: USC -- S T.J. McDonald. McDonald hasn't had the year he wanted or expected, but he's put up good numbers for the Trojans. Facing his little brother, Tevin McDonald, for the last time in college -- Tevin is a UCLA safety -- McDonald will look to put another trophy on the family mantle. UCLA -- DL Cassius Marsh. Marsh has been a beast for the Bruins this year as he's taken a big step in both physical and emotional maturity. He's a big reason the UCLA defense has improved so much up front. He had a blocked punt and a crucial sack and forced fumble against Washington State, and against USC's shaky offensive line, Marsh will need to shine.
Who could steal the show: USC -- RB Curtis McNeal. After a 1,000-yard season last year, McNeal has had to share the load with Silas Redd, and it's cost him in the stat books. But he took marquee billing against Arizona State, rushing for 163 yards and two touchdowns. If the Trojans want to beat the Bruins, they'll need a running game, and McNeal could shine once more. UCLA -- WR Joseph Fauria. The Bruins' tall target has proven to be more than just height this year, even though he's come up big, time and time again. Fauria has nine touchdowns and three in his last two games, but more importantly, he had 151 yards combined against Arizona and Washington State. There aren't many people in the country who can cover him, and it looks like QB Brett Hundley is looking to him more and more.
You going? Ranking the road trip: Last year, even USC fans found themselves walking out early. The Trojans -- and, well, the Bruins -- just made it a bore. And yeah, the noon kickoff doesn't help those who want to partake in some adult beverages. But the game? That should be better this time around.
Magic number for USC: 390.8. The Trojans have allowed a pedestrian 390 yards per game, good -- or bad? -- for 58th nationally and seventh in conference play. If USC hits that number against potent UCLA, though, it'd be a surprise.
Magic number for UCLA: 107. The biggest blemish in the Bruins' impressive resume is their sacks allowed total of 3.10 per game, which ranks 107th nationally. It won't help that the Trojans have one of the top sacking teams in the country.
The game comes down to: The team's respective offensive lines. Whichever unit makes the least mistakes should win this one.
Prediction: USC 38, UCLA 30