No. 4 Southern California Trojans (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS) vs. No. 6 Ohio
State Buckeyes (1-0 SU, 0-1 ATS), 8:00 p.m. EST, Saturday, September
12, 2009, Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio, TV: ESPN
by Badger of Predictem.com
Point Spread: USC -7/Ohio State +7
The 6th-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes get another shot at redemption Saturday night in front of a national ESPN audience when they tumble against the 4th-ranked Southern California Trojans in the Horseshoe
of Ohio Stadium.
But if the Buckeyes are going to finally lose the label of big-game chokers, they are going to need to play much better than they did in
their narrow 31-27 season-opening victory over Navy. The Buckeyes
nearly got caught looking past Navy, when a game-tying two-point play
attempt by Navy was returned for a touchdown to keep them from
blowing their one-time 15-point second half lead.
USC beat up on an overmatched San Jose State team in their opener last
weekend, pounding the Spartans into submission, 56-3. The Trojans stable
of running backs all went off as they racked up 343 yards rushing to make
true freshman quarterback Matt Barkley an easy winner in
his first college game.
The point spread in this game opened with USC as low as 5-point
favorites at some of the online sportsbooks, but
the number has quickly moved up to its current level where the
Trojans are a full touchdown 7-point favorite on the road at the
Shoe. As of press time, the over/under total has yet to be released.
One thing is for certain, the Buckeyes defense will have a huge
challenge Saturday trying to stop USCs freight train on offense.
After the Trojans pound you on the ground a little with Joe McNight
(2 TD), Stefon Johnson (2 TD) and C.J. Gable,
they bring in guys like Allen Bradford and Marc
Tyler, who both averaged over 10 yards per carry on Saturday. It
just never stops, and it sets up the play- action passing game so much that
Barkley hardly has to make a single throw into coverage. Barkley threw for
233 yards and one score, but almost all of his 15 completions were into
the flats or on check-down throws on rollouts, so he has yet to really be
tested in third-and- long situations.
On the other side Ohio States offense was clearly out of sync against
Navy, going a lousy 3-for-12 on third down in the game. Quarterback Terrelle
Pryor struggled with his new crew of receivers, and the number
of new starters along the offensive line didnt look at that impressive
on the few short-yardage plays that the Navy defense stuffed them on third
and fourth downs.
Defensively both teams are stacked with freakishly fast players all
over the field. USC has many new faces, but they still carried on the
tradition of top-notch defense by holding San Jose State to just 121
yards of total offense. Ohio States secondary was caught napping
several times against Navy, but I doubt they will lack the
concentration for Saturdays game against a more traditional pro-
style passing offense like USC.
USC poured salt on the Buckeyes BCS-game woes last season by
blasting them 35-3 at the Coliseum, covering a large 10.5-point
spread in the victory. USC is 3-0 against the Buckeyes dating back to
1989, with a perfect 3-0 ATS record all as the favorite to boot.
The last time these two played in Ohio at the Horseshoe was back in
1990, a 35-26 victory by the Trojans as 1-point favorites on the road.
Badgers Pick: Everybody loves USC, and why not, they are stacked. They will be fired up to get the monkey off their backs,
and facing a true freshman quarterback could be their best chance.
Im taking Ohio State plus the touchdown at the Horseshoe.