Arizona Wildcats (3-1 SU, 2-2 ATS) vs. USC Trojans (3-2 SU, 1-4 ATS)
College Football Week 7
Date and Time: Thursday, October 10, 10:30pm
Where: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, CA
TV: FOX Sports 1
by Bob, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: ARI +6/Southern Cal -6
Over/Under Total: OFF
This Thursday night at 10:30pm, we have a Pac-12 matchup on our hands when the Arizona Wildcats travel to Los Angeles to take on the USC Trojans. The Trojans come into this contest as six point favorites, but they have had some issues covering spreads as of late. In his series, USC has owned the edge. In the last ten season, USC is 8-2, including some big blowouts like the 49-9 beating in 2004, and the 45-0 thrashing in 2003. The 8-2 record and those scores are impressive, but lets be real…this is not your typical USC team, and Arizona, under the leadership of Rich Rodriguez, is now playing with confidence and swagger. Arizona came out of the gates winning their first three game of the season but they lost their last contest against Washington, 31-13. USC on the other hand will be playing their first game since the firing of Coach Lane Kiffin. Former Ole Miss coach, Ed Orgeron will take over the reigns while the Trojan administration searches for their next head man. This should be an interesting matchup, and I think the 6 point spread is just about right on the money. I could see this game going either way. We have two teams who are trying to make a case for the Pac-12 title, since right now it appears only Oregon and Stanford are looking like true championship material. Let us take a look at these two teams.
USC comes into this game at 3-2 overall, but you would think they were 0-5 the way their fans act and the media portrays them. They were destroyed by Arizona State 62-41, and that was coming after a game with undermanned Utah State in which the Trojans only won 17-14. This has not been a good season for USC, and that was even after last years collapse that was even worse. Remember, just a little over a year ago, USC was the preseason favorite to win the BCS title, and their QB, Matt Barkley had the Heisman all but wrapped up. As we all know, USC pretty much sucked. I hate to use the word “sucked” in an article, but, well, they straight up sucked. They only won 6 games all season and eventually lost in the Sun Bowl to lowly Georgia Tech. This season has not been much better but the Trojans administration made it quite evident that they will not stand for it any longer. Now, on to this matchup. Statistically speaking, USC doesn’t have a lot to boast about. They aren’t even ranked in the nations top 100 in passing, and only score 26 points per game, which in college football, is not very impressive, especially with the schedule that USC has played thus far. Defensively however, the Trojans aren’t that bad. They only allow right at 21 points per game, and that is even with the 62 they gave up just last week. The key in this game will be for USC to slow down the Wildcats running game. If USC can keep their own offense on the field, I like them have some pretty good success in this game.
Arizona has never been looked at like a football school. Their athletics program has always been defined by men’s basketball and their women’s softball teams. Well, Rich Rodriguez has these guys believing they can become a pretty good football program too. If you have followed Rodriguez throughout the years when he was coaching at West Virginia, then on to Michigan, you would view his teams as very offensively oriented with little to no defense being played. Well, this season is a little different. Arizona is ranked 9th in the nation in scoring defense, allowing only 14 points a contest while their passing attack is near the very bottom of FBS football, ranking 118th. This is odd to me, I have never seen a “Rich Rod” team that passed so poorly. But wait, here is the question…are they really passing that poorly or is the rushing attack just that good? The Wildcats are racking up close to 300 yards per game on the ground and is ranked in the nation’s top 10 in that category. Well, yes, the passing is poor since quarterback BJ Denker is only completing 50% of his pass attempts, but he has been able to avoid the turnovers. He has only thrown 2 INTs to go along with his 2 TD passes. Denker may not be lighting up the passing stats, but just like a true Rich Rodriguez quarterback, he has already ran for 6 touchdown scores, and has amassed over 275 yards on the ground. I think this attack can give USC some serious trouble. If Arizona can keep the USC offense off the field, run clock, and pound the ball, I think Arizona not only covers the spread, but wins the game.
Well I have made a case for each team and why they have a shot to win this game. Now lets look at some numbers: Earlier I was telling you how USC had won 8 of the last 10 head to head matchups in this series, well, that’s nice and all, but in those contests, Arizona has covered the spread in 7 of those. So while USC gets the win, the public has seemed to undervalue how well the Wildcats match up. This season, against the spread, USC is 1-4, while Arizona is 2-2. I don’t see this line moving much because as we speak, the public is almost a perfect 50/50 split. The last I checked, 52% of the money was on USC, while 48% resided with the Wildcats. I love this matchup. This will be a fun one to watch play out.
Bob’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Great matchup we have here. I am so torn, but I am gonna go with the bigger program and the more well known household name. I like what Rodriguez has done with Arizona, but I think the USC players will come out with high emotion and a chip on their shoulder. Look for the Trojans to win this by double digits. USC wins 27-17. PICK USC TROJANS -6
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