Stanford will face USC for the third time in less than a calendar year when the programs meet Saturday at Stanford Stadium in a prime-time matchup on ABC. It will be the Pac-12 Conference opener for both teams. The programs' men's water polo teams will face each other at Avery Aquatic Center at 1 p.m. prior to the gridiron matchup.
Stanford is ranked seventh in the AP poll and sixth by USA Today. Since the AP poll debuted in 1936, Stanford and USC have met 78 times. In 52 of those games, at least one of the two teams have been ranked. The series has featured a ranked team every season since 2001.
This will be third straight season, and fourth time in five seasons, that Stanford opens its conference slate against USC. Except for World War II, the Cardinal has played USC in Stanford Stadium in every even year since 1930.
This game marks the seventh in 94 meetings that the rivals have met in September, with four of the past five played in September.
For the first time in the 56-year history of the conference preseason poll, Stanford was chosen the favorite to win the Pac-12 Conference football title. The media poll has correctly selected the conference champion in 29 of 55 previous polls, but only twice in the last nine polls.
The Cardinal was not picked to win as much as the Pac-12 North Division in any of its three recent championship seasons (2012, 2013, 2015).
Since 2010, Stanford is 48-6 in games played in California (1-0 in 2016, 9-1 in 2015, 7-2 in 2014, 7-2 in 2013, 10-0 in 2012, 7-1 in 2011, 7-0 in 2010). Two of those losses came at the hands of USC (2013, 2014).
Under head coach David Shaw, Stanford is 31-4 at Stanford Stadium, 36-9 vs. Pac-12 opponents, 15-3 in September, 42-13 coming off a win, 35-5 vs. unranked opponents, 7-2 coming off a bye week and 8-4 on ABC.