When Cal played USC a season ago, one of the few bright spots on the day was the play of the Golden Bears secondary. Matt Barkley is a hard quarterback to shut down, and they didn't necessarily do that, but it was a silver lining in a game filled with miscues and missed opportunities.
SB Nation's blog for the USC Trojans, Conquest Chronicles, did a Q&A with Cal's blog, California Golden Blogs, and asked about the secondary this time around, how they performed a week ago against Ohio State, and who could give USC troubles. One of the responses is below:
4. NorCalNick: We were all terrified of what USC's receivers would do to Cal last year, but in the end Cal's secondary was arguably the lone bright spot on the day, so I guess the Bears have hope. But true freshman Stefan McClure was a big part of what went right last year, and he's out injured.
As noted in the question, Cal's secondary seemed to play up the competition against Ohio State a week ago. They were fighting a losing effort, but Cal managed to take that game to the wire, and if you couple that with the fact that USC just suffered a loss at the hands of the Stanford Cardinal, some might be thinking that Cal has a bigger chance than they would have thought a week ago.
Still, the Cal fans and bloggers that were involved in the Q&A session didn't hold any of those delusions. When asked about their predictions for the game, two of them went with USC, while the other simply embraced his hatred of Stanford, which is plenty acceptable.