1. Mitch Mustain! With Matt Barkley's recovery time unknown as yet, right now it's possible, however remotely, that the Trojans could finish out the season with the journeyman quarterback at the helm. (And thanks to USC's rapidly down-trending strength of schedule the next two weeks, it's also not out of the question that they might win with him.)
2. Richard Brehaut's noggin. Also dinged in Saturday action was UCLA's own replacement quarterback, who was pulled after displaying concussion symptoms in the third quarter. He's slated to return to practice this week.
3. UCLA's postseason aspirations. They're there, but they're faint. Two wins will get the boys in blue to 6-6, but Bruins Nation doesn't like how closely the numbers add up:
So this game could come down to who cashes in on the first big mistake. Bruins didn't get it done in Washington when they went it a shell like bunch of conservative wimps following early Husky TO. If they display the same pathetic tendencies and come in with the mindset of just trying to "hang in" with the Sun Devils, they will officially flush their bowl hopes down the toilet in the desert.
4. USC's pass defense. The Trojans' secondary wasn't horrid, especially not compared to their efforts on the ground, but Ryan Katz completed over 70% of his passes for a yardage output (154) that was precisely in line with what he's been doing for the early and late games this season.
5. Matt Barkley. Wasn't doing well even before he went down, with a 65-yard pick-six to his name, and Conquest Chronicles has about had it with the lofty hopes for his betterment:
Barkley continues to struggle. I don't have an answer for it. His throws lacked confidence or they looked liked wounded ducks. And there were a number of throws that went into coverage...obvious coverage that anyone could see and then there was the Pick 6. The DB was spying that play from the moment it started.
He just never looked sharp and then he went out with an injury.
6. USC's unit discipline. At the above link, Conquest Chronicles notes the return of the "penalty bug" in the form of multiple holding calls on the Trojans Saturday.
7. USC's ground defense. James Rodgers is sidelined, but Jacquizz Rodgers ran through the Trojans to the tune of 128 yards. It's Jacquizz Rodgers. There's a fair likelihood he's getting the ball. He crossed the 1,000-yard mark Saturday in his fifth 100-plus yard game of the season.
8. USC's eligibility woes. The Dillon Baxter golf cart story has spiraled into something larger, which could still all turn out to be nothing. Such is life in the domain of the NCAA. The university is petitioning for Baxter's reinstatement, and Conquest Chronicles sorts through the available evidence.
9. UCLA's ground defense. Think Jacquizz cut the Trojans up bad? UCLA had two players hit the 100-yard mark for Washington, one on just ten carries.
10. UCLA's aerial attack. Worst of all this week was UCLA's air game, yielding 55 yards and three interceptions from three quarterbacks.