No. 25 Stanford Cardinal (6-3) 4-3 ATS, 5-4 O/U at No. 9 USC Trojans (7-2) 2-7 ATS, 4-5 O/U Saturday November 14, 2009 Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, California 3:30 p.m. EST
By Wilson of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Stanford +10.5/USC -10.5
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The Stanford Cardinal are fresh off of a huge win at home versus the Oregon Ducks 51-42. The team travels to USC in what could be a showdown for the Pac-10 title. With Oregon losing last week the doors automatically opened a bit wider for other conference teams to take a shot at the roses.
The Cardinals became bowl eligible for the first time in eight years by beating the Ducks last week. Stanford is quietly good especially behind the running of workhorse Toby Gerhart who rushed for a personal best 223 yards on 38 carries and 3 touchdowns. Stanford QB Andrew Luck also had a productive day as he was 12 of 20 for 251 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Cardinals only committed 3 penalties for 25 yards compared to Oregons 9 for 90 yards.
Stanford has climbed into the AP Poll at No. 25 which they rightfully deserve as they take on the No. 9 (BCS Poll) ranked Trojans.
The Trojans were routed by Oregon two weeks ago 47-20 but last week their defense showed up by only allowing 9 points to the Arizona State Sun Devils. USC beat ASU 14-9 in a defensive win for the Trojans.
USCs Will Harris had a pick 6 for the men of Troy as the Trojans held on to beat the Devils for the second year in a row. The Trojans are 28-0 in November under Pete Carroll. For USC, last weeks win was a must as they cannot afford to slip any farther in the polls or in the Pac-10 race or they will certainly miss out on a significant bowl opportunity. Oh, geez that might mean USC will have to use recruiting film from last year instead of this year.
Trojan QB Matt Barkley was just 7 of 22 for 112 yards and 1 TD but that was all he needed. The Trojan defense rebounded from the Oregon disaster where they gave up 47 points. This team is not the same especially after losing so many starters from last years squad. USC definitely has talent and the only difference now is that the talent is young and inexperienced.
The line on this game opened at USC -12.5 with a total of 54. Most oddsmakers have this game at USC -10.5 with the total between 54 and 54.5. The Las Vegas Hilton Sportsbook is currently posting USC -10.5 as well. Some online books are showing USC -11 as are Planet Hollywood and the Hard Rock Casino in Vegas.
USC has won 6 of the last 7 meetings. The Trojans are averaging 28.2 points per game and allowing 18 to their opponents. Stanford is putting up 34 ppg and giving up 24 to the competition.
Both teams have offensive weapons and plenty of talent. The key to this game will once again be the battle in the trenches between the big guys who are asked to open holes for the backs and protect the QBs. USCs defense has been hot and cold all season which may be their most vulnerable spot. If the Trojans D fails to contain Stanfords Gerhart it could be a long day at home. Gerhart is as good as advertised, and he will exploit the young defenders given the opportunity.
USC is 1-8 ATS in their last 9 conference games. Stanford is 8-3 ATS in their last 11 conference games. The over is 10-3 in their last 13 meetings.
This will be a defining weekend for USC and a statement game for Stanford. I like Stanford to make a run but USC will get it done at home.
Wilsons Pick: USC 31, Stanford 28. Luck to ya.