Washington State's first meeting with Southern California in three years is a chance for a breakthrough victory under coach Mike Leach.
It's also a chance for one of the No. 25 Trojans' two quarterbacks to break out as the clear starter.
Yet neither possibility seems all that probable when the Cougars (0-1) visit the Coliseum on Saturday night for the resumption of a rivalry that dates to 1921.
Washington State looked better than many expected in a seven-point loss at Auburn last week, while USC put on a muddled offensive performance in a comfortable win at Hawaii.
But the Cougars are wary of the Trojans' talent-loaded roster and a revamped defense that looked dominant in its first game under new coordinator Clancy Pendergast.
The game is both schools' Pac-12 opener.