Picks: USC will upset Stanford

Why the Cardinal are on upset alert, plus picks for Week 12's big games

Updated: November 14, 2013, 11:46 AM ET
By Phil Steele | ESPN Insider

Nelson AgholorThearon W. Henderson/Getty ImageNelson Agholor and USC have been on a hot streak of late.

Each week during the 2013 college football season I will offer up my picks and scores for the biggest games in addition to a handful of other key matchups. Week 11 is in the books and my picks went 5-4. Overall, my record now stands at 76-23 this year.

After a week that saw Stanford upset Oregon and Baylor and Alabama notch impressive home wins, this week's slate offers several matchups with conference title implications and the possibility for several upsets.


No. 4 Stanford Cardinal at USC Trojans

Saturday at 8 p.m. ET, ABC

The Cardinal have owned the Trojans recently, winning four straight games including last year when they upset then-No. 2 USC 21-14 in a game that started the Trojans' downfall under Lane Kiffin.

This year Stanford enters the game in control of its Pac-12 destiny after the upset of Oregon last week. On defense, the Cardinal are generating consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks, having totaled 30 sacks, and have only allowed nine sacks on offense. Quarterback Kevin Hogan has not had to do much in the passing game the last two weeks as he has attempted a combined 31 passes.

On the other side, interim head coach Ed Orgeron is doing a tremendous job as the Trojans are just two missed field goals versus Notre Dame away from being 5-0 under his direction. They are getting production from all three phases. Quarterback Cody Kessler has completed 31 of his last 38 passes. The defense, outside of the Arizona State meltdown, is allowing just 13 points per game, and last week the special teams accounted for three touchdowns including two punt-return TDs by Nelson Agholor.


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Phil Steele

ESPN Insider