No. 16 Fresno State (8-1) at No.1 USC (10-0)
Saturday, 7:15 p.m., FSN
The Daily Line: USC -23.5
Fresno State player to watch: Senior quarterback Paul Pinegar has a 30-9 record – including 3-0 in bowl games – as a starter for the Bulldogs. Pinegar has moved up the career charts in passing yards, total offense and touchdown passes. For his career, Pinegar has 8,843 passing yards and 72 career touchdown passes.
USC players to watch: USC may have the best pair of wide receivers in the land in Steve Smith (47 receptions, 858 yards, 18.3 per catch and 4 TDs) and sophomore Dwayne Jarrett (70 receptions, 1,033 yards, 14.8 per catch and 14 TDs). They are on pace to become USC's second pair of receivers with 1,000 yards receiving each.
The inside scoop: Fresno State will present the toughest challenge for the Trojans in several weeks. The Bulldogs have both a capable offense and a stingy defense. While nobody has beaten USC in the last 32 games, certainly Fresno State's combination a good offense and solid defense are ingredients you would need to pull the upset. The Trojans, however, seem to be tightening their focus recently and when they do that, they are next to unbeatable. In fact, they are unbeatable.
Fresno State will win if … Pinegar and the Bulldogs can manage to keep the Trojans' offense on the sidelines while also scoring points. That's the gameplan to beat the Trojans, but the last 32 opponents have failed to do that.
USC will win if … it doesn't look ahead to the showdown with UCLA and plays as if it is a little miffed with all the attention Texas has received of late. The Trojans may want to make their own statement Saturday night.
Note: This will be the first meeting between the two schools since the 1992 Freedom Bowl.
The pick: USC 44, Fresno State 20. -rivals.com