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Who stands between USC and a third straight title-game invite
Oct. 28 at Oregon State: The Trojans' priority will be to contain tailback Yvenson Bernard (26, right), who has four 100-yard rushing games and is by far the most reliable offensive weapon for a team averaging just 15.8 points in conference play.
Nov. 4 at Stanford: The winless Cardinal's porous offensive line will make it hard for quarterback Trent Edwards to move the chains. This should be the blowout USC is looking for: Six of Stanford's eight losses have been by 21 points or more.
Nov. 11 Oregon: Quarterback Dennis Dixon, who is dangerous as both a runner and a passer, and the Ducks' spread offense will be a major challenge for the Trojans' defense, especially its suspect secondary.
Nov. 18 California: If any Pac-10 team can match the Trojans' athleticism it is the Bears. Middle linebacker Desmond Bishop (10, above) leads a defense that is tough against the run, which means the outcome could rest on John David Booty's arm.
Nov. 25 Notre Dame: The Trojans can't afford to get into another shootout like last year's 34--31 classic victory in South Bend. One of the keys to keeping the score down will be containing Irish wide receiver Jeff Samardzija.
Dec. 2 at UCLA: This 77-year-old rivalry has had its share of upsets, and the Bruins nearly knocked off Notre Dame on the road last Saturday. UCLA quarterback Ben Olson should be back from a knee injury as the Bruins seek their first win over the Trojans since 1998.