USC once had the highest-rated defense in the Pacific 10 Conference, but the last few weeks have changed that.
The distinction now belongs to Cal.
"Statistics-wise, they do," USC cornerback Antuan Simmons said. "We'll see who has the better defense this week."
The distinction is dubious, given the state of the Pac-10.
Cal, with the help of a shutout against UCLA, leads the Pac-10 in scoring defense at 25 points a game. That's 61st in the nation.
The Golden Bears lead the Pac-10 in total defense at 353.7 yards a game. That's 50th in the nation.
Cal also leads the Pac-10 in rushing defense at 115 yards a game. That's 28th in the nation.
Cal ranks in the middle of the Pac in pass-efficiency defense--but 90th nationally.
Receiver R. Jay Soward is expected to play despite a strained hamstring, with a determination on how extensive his role will be to be made during warmups. . . . Faaesea Mailo is doubtful because of a bruised leg, and although Donta Kendrick will play left guard, USC will miss Mailo as the goal-line fullback. Chad Pierson is his backup. . . . Tailback Chad Morton has been awarded an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship as one of 15 players honored for academic performance and football ability by the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame.