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Stanford Cardinal vs. USC Trojans predictions from the Rule of Tree writing staff

We asked the writers their thoughts on the upcoming Stanford football game against USC

Pac-12 Championship - Stanford v USC Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images

Charlie Foy: Stanford and USC have played a close game in almost every matchup over the past few years. This year will be semi-close and make Stanford fans nervous. I think Stanford will control the entire game but never dominate. For Stanford to win, Ryan Burns and Bryce Love will need to take pressure off of Christian McCaffery. Burns needs to avoid turnovers, and Love needs to be a dynamic play maker. I think Burns and Love will both step up.

Prediction: Stanford 24-17

Nerdnation23: A ranked Stanford team versus an unranked USC team is not common but it's a world that I would rather live in. USC will always have great athletes but they still don't have a good football team. Even if McCaffrey gets half his AP yards from the championship last season, he'd still have 230. Stanford will do just enough at home and win 31-17.

Tony Fernandes: Think this matchup will be closer than people think. USC was embarrassed in week 1, yet came back and executed much more effectively in game 2. USC/Stanford is always a rivalry game, and the Cardinal will be in for a dogfight. Look for Stanford to get McCaffrey out in space, and utilize Bryce Love a lot this week. Stanford will come out victorious 24-16.

CMolesky: This is a big rivalry game for both teams as USC is looking to prove they are not as bad the Alabama loss and Stanford is sitting on the outside of the top, fighting for a chance to get in. This will be a close one but Max Browne's completion percentage drops to 45 in close games. Burns is far more dependable in a tight spot and in a game where both teams have star playmakers the QBs will be the difference.

Matt Levin: Stanford and USC games are usually close. This will not be the case on Saturday night. Stanford will start the night off slow after not playing in two weeks. Once Stanford's offense can find a groove, there will be no looking back. The Christian McCaffrey and Bryce Love duo will be unstoppable. Burns will look sharp in his second game as well. Defensively, Stanford may be a bit slow, but their offense will be too much to handle. Stanford wins by 2 or more possessions.

Nick Dempsey: USC was embarrassed in the opening week. The Trojans looked much better in week two but it was at home against Utah State. USC goes back on the road where Clay Helton has only won 2 games away from the Coliseum. The first win was against Cal, the other Colorado and they struggled in both of them. Eking out wins on the road against two of the worst teams in the Pac-12 and then losing all other road games under Helton does not exactly inspire a ton of confidence. USC has struggled mightily away from the Coliseum under Helton and I expect that trend to continue. Stanford - 34 USC -17

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