USC down three key players

Three key USC players are out, according to the Orange County Register's Michael Lev: running back Dillon Baxter (toes), defensive end Wes Horton (back), and linebacker Malcolm Smith (knee).

The loss of Baxter isn't nearly as problematic as losing two defensive starters. The Trojans defense lacks depth even when it's healthy. Moreover, a number of guys who are playing are banged up, such as end Nick Perry.

That should help California today.