LOS ANGELES (AP) -The USC-Arizona State matchup was supposed to be the Pac-10's game of the year. The way things have turned out, it's barely the conference's game of the week.
No. 8 Southern California and the struggling Sun Devils, the Pac-10's co-champs last season and favorites heading into this one, meet Saturday at the Los Angeles Coliseum. The loser will find itself in a huge hole in the conference race.
USC (3-1, 1-1) rebounded from a shocking 27-21 loss at Oregon State in its conference opener to bury Oregon 44-10 last weekend. ASU (2-3, 1-1), coming off a 24-14 loss at California, will be trying to avoid its first four-game losing streak since 2003.
At the top of the early Pac-10 standings are Arizona (4-1, 2-0), which plays at Stanford (3-3, 2-1) on Saturday, and California (4-1, 2-0), idle this week.
timidated, they don't care about the USC Trojans.''
The Trojans didn't just have hopes to win the conference title; they were a near-unanimous No. 1 in the country before the Oregon State debacle.
``We're still in the (national championship) picture,'' Moore said. ``We know we have to play hard every game. All those good teams in the Big 12 and SEC, they've got to play each other. All those teams are going to cancel each other out, that's what I think.''
The Trojans, favored by 28 points, enter with an eight-game winning streak over the Sun Devils, and they've won those games by an average of 19.1 points.
In addition, USC has won 73 of its last 82 games since the beginning of the 2002 season and 40 of its last 41 games at the Coliseum.
``They have good players and they do a good job at coaching them,'' Sun Devils coach Erickson said. ``They have a system that they believe in and they stay with it. There aren't many (programs) like it. You look at all the teams in the country and there are some ups and downs in all of those programs; it's just the nature of the game. USC has maintained that level.''
dn't practice until Thursday.
``I'd be surprised if he can play, but I'm not ruling it out,'' Erickson said.
``I said Monday I had to get 10 to 15 percent better every day,'' Carpenter said. ``It's been on that track. Now we've got two more days.''
If Carpenter can't go, Danny Sullivan would make his first career start for the Sun Devils. Sullivan, a junior, has completed one pass this season.
``I think Danny's a good player,'' Carpenter said. ``He's got a strong arm, he can make good decisions. He's been here for a little while, so I think that if he's given an opportunity, I think he'll do well.''
Sullivan has completed 26 of 52 passes for 211 yards in his career.
It appeared earlier in the week that USC might have to go with a backup quarterback as well, but Mark Sanchez completed a full practice Thursday, five days after suffering a bone bruise in his left knee against Oregon.
Sanchez, a junior in his first full season as USC's starter, has already been selected the Pac-10 offensive player of the week three times this year, having thrown for 1,069 yards and 13 touchdowns.
ASU scored a total 71 points in beating Northern Arizona and Stanford to begin the season, but has scored only 44 in losing to UNLV, No. 10 Georgia and Cal since then.
o,'' USC coach Pete Carroll said. ``They've got a lot of firepower. They haven't run the ball as well as they balanced it out last year. But they look the same.
``They have a great offense. We're going to consider them just as much as we did last year, when their record was a little bit different.''

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