The USC Trojans are favorites over the Stanford Cardinal this week, although it's hard to imagine them taking this game lightly. Despite Stanford having trouble running the football this year and not having a quarterback named Andrew Luck, there are still plenty of ingredients that could spring an upset if things fall into place.
USC isn't good enough to just waltz into Stanford Stadium and hope their talent will be enough to beat the Cardinal. Stanford has proven they can win not just because of Luck, but because they've been able to be the only team in the Pac-12 to equal (if not better) the Trojans in the trenches. If the Cardinal can maintain that extra push with the new offensive line they have up front, that'll open things up for the Stanford tight ends and give Josh Nunes more breathing room to operate the offense. Then a healthy dose of Stepfan Taylor could help the Cardinal control time of possession, and the Cardinal can turn it over to one of the most intimidating linebacking corps in the country.
Stanford isn't favorites by a long shot. But all the ingredients are there for a top-25 shocker if Stanford plays their cards right and relies on their run game and defense to produce the big plays.