Room for improvement

LOS ANGELES - - Surviving an ominous Northeast thunderstorm and having feasted on two non-conference hors d'oeuvres called Hawaii and Syracuse, the No. 2 USC Trojans will continue their road tour next Saturday afternoon with a Pac-12 main-course dish, the No. 25 Stanford Cardinal in Palo Alto.

It'll be the Pac-12 opener for both the Trojans (2-0) and Stanford (2-0), two private universities that have a long history of competitive animosity. Ask most experts and they'll tell you this season's early matchup would be between undefeated teams, about as sarcastically shocking as Saturday's humidity and unpredictable weather in the New York City area.

Make no mistake about it, Stanford would dearly love to stick it to the Trojans for a third consecutive season, and the Trojans make no bones about payback to the Cardinal, something Trojans coach Lane Kiffin alluded to in his postgame radio show after the not-so-impressive 42-29 victory over Syracuse.