When No. 7 USC faces rival No. 16 UCLA on Saturday both teams will be ranked in their annual game for the first time since 2014. And when the Trojans visit the Rose Bowl on Saturday their Pac-12 Championship and College Football Playoff hopes will also be on the line.
The Trojans can clinch a spot in the Pac-12 title game with a win, while the Bruins need a victory to stay alive in the Pac-12 title hunt after losing at home to Arizona last week.
While USC leads the all-time series 49-33-7, these two programs have split the last 10 meetings. However, few of those meetings have had the stakes of this year's clash, with USC off to its best start since the Pete Carroll era and UCLA in contention to match its program record of 10 wins in a season. That's brought increased pressure to a game that seems to always garner attention, with the Victory Bell on the line between two Los Angeles-based programs both wearing their home uniforms for the cross-town clash.
As if the championship implications weren't enough to inspire intrigue, this matchup has star power fitting for the Hollywood setting. The head coaches, Lincoln Riley and Chip Kelly, are regarded as two of the brightest offensive minds college football has seen in the last 20 years. The quarterbacks, Caleb Williams and Dorian Thompson-Robinson, are two of the top offensive players in the Pac-12. Let's get into the important and keys to the matchup for this highly anticipated West Coast showdown. Follow along with all the action here.
How to watch USC vs. UCLA live
Date: Saturday, Nov. 19 | Time: 8 p.m. ET
Location: Rose Bowl -- Pasadena, California
TV: Fox | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
USC vs. UCLA: Need to know
Two top-10 offenses: As you might expect given the status of both quarterbacks, USC and UCLA boast two of the top offenses in the country. On a yards-per-play basis, USC is tied for fourth among all FBS teams averaging 7.20 yards per play, while UCLA is sixth and averaging 7.18 yards per play. They are two of just seven offenses to average more than 499 yards per game and two of 12 teams to average more than 39 points per game. For UCLA, the balance to Dorian Thompson-Robinson's production has been running back Zach Charbonnet, who leads the nation in yards per carry (7.53) and all-purpose yards per game (176.88). The Trojans ride quarterback Caleb Williams and a versatile passing attack that spreads the ball around, but the offense also had some of its most success in the ground game.
USC running back Travis Dye sidelined by injury: Speaking of the ground game, USC's offense suffered a major setback in the win against Colorado when running back Travis Dye was carted off the field with a season-ending injury. Dye, a four-year player at Oregon prior to transferring to USC, totaled 884 yards and nine touchdowns in 10 games for the Trojans, numbers that rank in the top five among Pac-12 running backs and account for much of the team's rushing success. His absence means more work for senior Austin Jones, freshman Raleek Brown and potentially the need for Caleb Williams to remain a threat in the run game.
Heisman Trophy voters will be watching: While Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud and Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker have shorter Heisman Trophy odds going into the weekend, things could flip considering this is arguably the biggest stage Williams has had all year. Ever since the 43-42 loss at Utah, the Trojans have been rolling over teams from the bottom of the Pac-12 in games that aren't going to resonate with most Heisman Trophy voters. Saturday will be different, though, and the spotlight could allow Williams to show out in a way that will have an impact on how Heisman Trophy voters will put those No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 choices on the ballot.
USC vs. UCLA prediction, picks
USC has looked great beating up on bad teams over the last month, but I'm not sure there is as much of a difference between these two teams as the rankings suggest. The Trojans also have some potential injury issues beyond the absence of Dye, and while UCLA's loss to Arizona is concerning, I do think it was also just the kind of defeat we see in potential lookahead spots late in the year. I think the Bruins bounce back in a big way and steal the win Prediction: UCLA +2.5
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