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Stanford Cardinal football: A look at the recent rivalry with the USC Trojans

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Big Game will always be the main Stanford rivalry, and Notre Dame and Oregon are usually fun ones as well but recently USC and Stanford has developed into quite an intense affair.

Jason O. Watson/Getty Images

Stanford vs Cal has been a great longtime rivalry, but recently another Stanford rivalry has emerged, Stanford vs USC. Every year, Stanford and USC seem to play a great, down to the wire football game (with the exception of the PAC 12 Championship and even that one was competitive), and some beef always seems to go along with it. Let's take a look at the rivalry built between Stanford and USC in the past few years.

2007: Stanford is a struggling football team about to play top ranked USC. Stanford is s 41 point underdog, and no one thinks they have a chance. However, Stanford proved the doubters wrong by making history. They won the game 24-23 in the greatest upset ever after Tavita Pritchard threw a diving pass to Mark Bradford on fourth down. Suddenly, Stanford football was back on the map, and for the first time for years to come, USC began to make excuses for the game. They blamed their greatest coach of all time, Pete Carroll, for not punting on fourth down on their own side or for keeping John David Booty in with a broken finger forcing him to throw four interceptions. Ultimately, a win is a win, and Stanford made shirts to remind USC of it. 2007 marked the beginning of a great rivalry for years to come.

2009: I lied to you when I said Stanford and USC have been close in every game with the exception of the PAC-12 Championship because the 2009 game was a beat down. USC may have got their payback in 2008, but Stanford made them soon forget it. Stanford handed USC its worst loss ever and won the game 55-21. To top it all of, Stanford went for two leading by twenty seven points, and Carroll questioned Harbaugh after the game asking "What's your deal?" Harbaugh responded with the same question, and Stanford took the saying for their season ticket packages for the remaining part of the year. Stanford proved that 2007 was no fluke and that they could play with the big boys in 2009.

2010: USC players and fans who remembered 2009's game hoped for a bounce back win against Stanford. However, they did not get what they wanted. USC had a chance to win the game, but they failed to stop Stanford as they drove down the field for a game winning field goal as time expired to win the game 37-35. But once again, USC came up with excuses to cover up their loss. They claimed that the Stanford clock operator delayed the game clock and allowed Stanford more time to score at the end of the game. But why should Stanford be blamed? Yes it was a simple mistake, but the referees should have been responsible for fixing it. Even if Stanford had less time, they could have driven down the field faster and still score a field goal. After an embarrassing 2009 loss, USC fans in 2010 hated Stanford even more after thinking Stanford cheated.

2011: Fans who went to the 2011 matchup got their money's worth. The game went to triple overtime and proved to be exciting for the entire game. Andrew Luck threw a pick six late in the fourth quarter that almost cost Stanford the game, but he bounced back the next drive to lead Stanford's touchdown drive. After, USC failed to score a late field goal in regulation time. The two teams then battled it out in overtime going back in forth before Stanford made a crucial stop to win by forcing a fumble and recovering it for the win. However once again, USC came with excuses following the loss. Lane Kiffin told the media he was "really disappointed in the officials" because he wasn't allowed to call a timeout with less than a second remaining in regulation time. Excuses seem to never end when it comes to USC losses.

2012: Remember when USC came into the 2012 season either ranked one or two in the preseason polls? Or remember when every USC fan seemed to think this was a team destined for greatness, and Matt Barkley was guaranteed a Heisman Trophy in the beginning of the year? Well, Stanford was the first team to show USC fans their 2012 hopes wouldn't come true. Heading into the game, USC thought this would be a slaughter without Andrew Luck leading the way, but USC thought wrong. Stephan Taylor ran all over USC, and the Stanford defense was too physical for USC. Beating USC for the fourth straight time, Stanford fans stormed the field as USC fans watched their championship bid end.

2013: The USC team was bitter, the fans were frustrated, and USC finally got their revenge. While Stanford ruined USC's championship hopes last year, USC ruined Stanford's in 2013. Ranked fourth in the country, Stanford saw USC kick the game winning 47 yard field goal and watched USC fans pour onto the field. USC fans never seem to rush the field, and throughout history, it has only occurred in a few instances against USC's greatest rivals. In 1999, USC stormed the field after they beat UCLA for the first time in nine years, and in 1996, USC stormed the field after they beat Notre Dame for the first time in thirteen years. By storming the field against Stanford, USC fans really showed the Stanford vs USC rivalry existed.

2015: Stanford should forget all of 2014 entirely but should remember 2015's bounce back year. After an antagonizing loss against Northwestern, Stanford looked to redeem themselves in Los Angeles. Losing two straight years to USC, Stanford had a difficult task early in the year vs the undefeated Trojans. USC scored easily on the first drive, but Stanford took the lead heading into half. Stanford then never faltered in the second half despite Kevin Hogan playing on a sprained ankle, and Conrad Ukropina kicked his first big field goal from 46 yards to seal the win.

However, the two teams met again in the PAC 12 Championship. Seeking for their first Rose Bowl berth in quite some time, USC struggled against Christian McCaffery and the Stanford Cardinal. In 2015, Stanford reasserted their dominance over USC and became the college football kings of California once again.

2016 and beyond: Stanford vs USC will meet again early in the season on September 17th. Both teams will need to find a quarterback replacement, but they both have highly ranked high school quarterbacks competing for the job. Most likely, neither team will have an advantage at the quarterback position, but running backs will most likely decide the game. USC's sophomore Ronald Jones II showed flashes of stardom last year while Christian McCaffery is already a proven star. If Ronald Jones II steps up, next year's game could be a very close matchup, and you truly never know what to expect when watching Stanford and USC face off.