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Oregon vs. USC: It starts in the trenches

It's football's oldest cliché, but the winner of Oregon's showdown with USC will likely be decided up front.

Jonathan Ferrey

Oregon has done its part. The Ducks are undefeated and ready for Saturday's once-marquee matchup in L.A. against USC.

The Trojans, however, haven't held up their end of the deal, dropping two games against Stanford and Arizona.

So, while some of the hype surrounding the game has died down, the contest will have plenty of implications in the Pac-12. For Oregon, BCS dreams are also still at stake.

USC, despite its losses, is improved on defense this year, especially up front where it ranks eighth in sacks and 22nd in TFL. The guys at Addicted to Quack, however, have shed a little light on USC's deceptive dominance in the front seven, and conversely highlighted Oregon's misleading numbers, as well.

Competent running teams can, and have run on the Trojans, and there is no team more competent at running the football than Oregon. We saw what trouble Arizona gave USC last weekend--not just Kadeem Carey, but Matt Scott as well. Well, as Stuart Mandel tweeted, Oregon's offense is Arizona's perfected. Oh yeah, the Ducks have a better defense than the 'Cats, too.

Running is Oregon's bread and butter, so if the Ducks win the battle up front, they should be in good shape.