Written by Dave Dulberg, USC blog contributor
After erasing more dark clouds - both figuratively and literally - on Saturday with a 40-17 shellacking of Washington, the forecast for USC heading into next weekend's clash at No. 4 Oregon is still rather stormy.
While the Trojans have built an impressive 8-2 record this season, USC has not beaten the Ducks since 2008 and no player on the current roster has won in the state of Oregon.
"I feel that the way we are playing right now, we can give them the best match-up since I've been here," QB Matt Barkley said. "We have a lot of personnel that can make plays for us and we are playing each game for each other. I've mentioned before that there is a lack of individuals on this team, we have a sense of unity. And I think you can see that with the way we've played."
Although the Trojans' chemistry may be the strongest its ever been during Lane Kiffin's tenure, USC's underclassmen-laden team will have to compete with arguably the loudest crowd in the country at Autzen Stadium next Saturday.
"Autzen was very loud and very hostile," said Barkley on his only prior trip to Eugene, OR. "Fans aren't nice there. I like playing there just because of the environment. And, Oregon's very good this year, but I think they were better in the past. It'll be a different situation this year but fun nonetheless."
DT Christian Tupou knows all too well about the notorious Autzen faithful. The redshirt senior was a part of the Trojans' narrow 24-17 defeat in 2007 and the 47-20 blowout in 2009.
"The game just goes so fast," said Tupou on facing Oregon at Autzen. "They have a fast offense but it's also about the effect of Autzen Stadium. All of it comes into play when you go up there. After one play though, I think you're use to it. So it's not a big deal."
Oregon is coming off its most convincing win of the season, a 53-30 road rout of previously unbeaten Stanford on Saturday night. While the Ducks have plenty to play for over the next few weeks with a potential Pac-12 Championship Game berth at stake, CB Nickell Robey believes the showdown means just as much if not more to USC.
Asked what a road upset of Oregon would mean to the program, Robey responded simply, "USC is back."
(Photos by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)