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Final: USC 48, Cal 14

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Barkley Throws 5 TDs In First Half (1:09)

Matt Barkley tied a school record with 5 TD passes in the first half vs. California (1:09)

Fair to say that the plot has now thickened for Oregon's visit to USC on Oct. 30.

USC looked like its old self -- the team that used to dominate on both sides of the ball while winning national championships -- in a 48-14 win against California, with the final tally making it seem like this one was closer than it was, considering the Trojans led 42-zip at the half.

USC had 32 first downs; Cal 11. USC had 602 total yards; Cal 244.

Matt Barkley completed 25 of 37 passes for 352 yards with five TDs -- all in the first half. His favorite target, freshman Robert Woods, caught seven passes for 116 yards with two TDs.

It was the first time this season both the Trojans offense and defense played well.

The performance was so impressive -- Cal was coming off a nice win against UCLA and had pushed Arizona to the brink -- that it's not ridiculous to think something, well, clicked between the Trojans players and their first-year coaching staff under Lane Kiffin.

How can you not give Kiffin some credit for good coaching here, too? Many wondered if the Trojans would play with fire. They were banged up with injuries and had lost consecutive games on field goals in the final seconds.

But the Trojans were fiery and well-coached against the Bears. And you suspect they'll be that way again when the Ducks come to town, potentially with a No. 1 ranking.

Moreover, USC is off next weekend. It will have extra time to prepare for the Ducks offense. That's valuable.

As for Cal: What can we say? This was bad. A no-show. It was a bit surprising that coach Jeff Tedford opted not to play backup quarterback Beau Sweeney -- or any other quarterback -- when Kevin Riley struggled early with two interceptions.

The Bears play host to Arizona State next weekend. Of course, the way the Bears are, they'll play great and win. They are just a confounding team. You never know who will show up.