USC football enters preparations for the Oregon game on a positive note: The Trojans are on a four-game winning streak, are tied for second in the Pac-12 and are heavily favored against the Ducks on Saturday.
Furthermore, the Trojans climbed up in the AP poll to their best position since falling out of the Top 25 after losing to Alabama to open the season. USC received 40 votes in this week’s rankings, placing them behind only Houston (65 votes) as the team receiving the most votes outside the Top 25.
Four teams from the Pac-12 are ranked in the Top 25 — Washington, which beat Utah on Saturday, remains at No. 4, while the Utes are now 16th. Colorado comes in at No. 21 after a bye week, and Washington State made its first appearance in rankings, climbing to No. 25.
With Utah losing to Washington, the Trojans are now tied with the Utes for second in the Pac-12 South, as both teams hold 4-2 records. Colorado is alone in first with a record of 4-1.
After beginning the season 1-3, USC has beaten Arizona State, Colorado, Arizona and Cal to bring its record to a respectable 5-3. But the Trojans do not control their own fate. To clinch the Pac-12 South, they have to win the remainder of their games and have both Utah and Colorado lose at least once.
The Trojans are favored by two touchdowns against Oregon on Saturday. The Ducks have struggled this season with a 3-5 record, and this marks the first time USC has faced an Oregon team with a losing record since 1982. A win would likely boost the Trojans back into the AP Top 25 before they take on Washington on the road.
USC hasn’t beaten Oregon at the Coliseum since 2008, though the Trojans have won seven straight games at home. The game will kickoff at 4 p.m. on Saturday and air on ESPN.