Oregon hasn't played USC since 2002, a 44-33 Trojans victory. In the two-plus seasons before that, Oregon went 27-4, while USC went 16-15. Since then, USC has lost one game and won two national titles and the Ducks are 17-15.
That's a reversal of fortune.
Of course, Oregon coach Mike Bellotti, who needs one Pac-10 victory to become the 13th coach to win 50 conference games, treads lightly when asked if it was a good thing that USC hasn't been on the schedule for two years. "That's a loaded question," he said with a laugh. With the conference schedule heating up, Pac-10 coaches will take great pains to be respectful toward USC without appearing filled with awe. Each will point out that the Trojans' only four games decided by single digits last year all came against conference foes. "I don't know if there is a perfect team in college football, but they certainly come close," Bellotti said, though adding later, "they're a college football team, just like we are."