It's that time of year everybody! There have been some really bad matchups in the Pac-12 so far this season, but now it's getting real. It all starts with No. 7 USC traveling to Rice-Eccles Stadium for a battle with No. 20 Utah on Saturday. This will be easily the Trojans' biggest test, as this Utah team did win the conference just last year and is playing in the friendly confines of Salt Lake City.

It could be a spicy affair, as the last time USC played in-conference on the road against a team with a pulse it was Oregon State, and USC won that game by three points. We're going to see if the Trojans have done any growing over the past few weeks or if the Utes can get right back in the thick of things at the top of the Pac-12 South following their loss to UCLA.

With the Hollywood press tour out of the way, here's three bold predictions for USC's road trip to Salt Lake City against Utah.

3. USC offense starts slow

As mentioned, the only other time this season USC has played a team that's particularly good was on the road against Oregon State, and it took 14 fourth quarter points for the Trojans to get it done in Corvallis, barely squeaking by. If this is a team with College Football Playoff aspirations, as many believe, then this is the type of game USC needs to take command of early, a development tough to see coming.

Utah comes into this game with the best defense in the Pac-12, allowing just 315.8 total yards per game, good for 21st in the country. Of those yards, only 179.3 of them come from the air, which could provide ample problems for Caleb Williams and his star-studded receiving corps.

I think this all sets up for Utah to keep USC from putting up points in a hurry as they're capable of doing, we'll just have to see if that gives them enough time to put up enough points of their own.

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2. Trojans' defense gets at least 3 sacks

USC's defensive line might be one of the most underrated front fours in the country, coming into Saturday's game leading the nation with 24 sacks. That's a bit of a change considering the kind of defenses rolled out by Lincoln Riley's teams at Oklahoma the past few years, which can at best be described as porous.

This USC defense is different, though. The Trojans actually have the ability to get to the passer, and for a Utah offensive line that gave up two sacks last week to UCLA, it's not out of the question Cam Rising faces consistent pressure, getting taken to the ground in the backfield three times.  may not be out of the question that they get beat 3 times. Sure, that total falls short of USC's average of six sacks per game, but three sacks could still represent truly game-changing plays.

1. Whoever wins, the margin of victory will be less than four

This is going to be a very close game. Both of these teams are incredibly talented, and it's in an environment that's not going to be very pleasant for USC to play in. It seems like everything is setting up for this to be a one-score game, but it's honestly a coin flip as to who actually wins this game. Arguments could be made for both squads, and they'd be equally valid.

If you're into betting, FanDuel lists the Utes as 3.5-point favorites over the Trojans, an indication that Vegas believes the teams are basically evenly matched. Trust your gut on this one, but don't expect the outcome to be decided early. Both Utah and USC should have opportunities to win in the fourth quarter; whichever Pac-12 power makes the most plays late will emerge victorious.