Pregame from Palo Alto

PALO ALTO, Calif. -- Some pretty good hype surrounding the first Pac-12 league game of the season. How much? According to Stanford officials, there are more credentialed media for today’s game against USC than there was for last year’s showdown with Oregon.

Folks are interested to see how the No. 2 Trojans (2-0) do in their first real test of the 2012 season. Most expect that center Khaled Holmes will not play for USC and Cyrus Hobbi will handle snapping duties for the Trojans.

No. 21 Stanford (2-0) plays its third straight game at home.

A few things to keep an eye on.

  • Stanford’s rushing attack vs. USC: The Cardinal haven’t run the ball great to start the year, but they have also faced nine-man fronts. The return of fullback Ryan Hewitt should help in run blocking and in the short-yardage passing game.

  • USC’s receivers vs. Stanford secondary: Robert Woods and Marqise Lee are all kinds of good. Expect quarterback Matt Barkley to take plenty of shots down field.

  • Stanford’s front seven vs. USC’s offensive line: If Holmes isn’t going to play, and he’s not expected to, you have to wonder how much pressure the Cardinal will be able to get on Barkley. Do you turn up the blitzes to confuse Hobbi? Or do you hope that rushing four will get the job done.