USC Trojans (8-2 SU, 6-4 ATS) vs. Oregon Ducks (9-1 SU, 6-3-1 ATS), 8:00 p.m. EST, College Football Week 12, Saturday, November 19, 2011, Autzen Stadium, Eugene Oregon, TV: ABC
by Scotty L, Sports Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: University of Southern California +15.5/OR -15.5
Over/Under Total: 67
Bet the Trojans/U of O game and ALL college football games each week at -105 odds instead of the spendy -110 option that you’re probably used to getting: 5Dimes.
The USC Trojans make the trip north to Eugene to take on their longtime conference rivals–the Oregon Ducks. Oregon put it together in a big way on Saturday, scorching unbeaten and 4th-ranked Stanford. As 3-point underdogs, they won by 23. While a week 1 loss to LSU might have sullied their national championship hopes, this team is unquestionably one of the best in the nation. They have a chance to prove this once again against a resurgent Trojans team.
With the 8-2 Trojans, UO cannot afford to be admiring their work from last week. The Trojans are a budding program once again, poised to become a team resembling their glory days. They are not quite there yet, but they are on the precipice. Oregon is a step above, but unless they approach this game with the passion of last week, it might not matter.
After 8 losses in the past two seasons as a starter, Barkley and the Trojans are rounding into shape. Whether that translates into success against Ore. is another issue. Barkley is 47-87 with 3 touchdowns and 3 picks in a pair of previous starts against Oregon, losing both games by a combined 48 points. Anything resembling that on Saturday will give the Ducks another win and an easy cover.
Its just that this is not quite the Trojans team of recent memory, who went 10-16 ATS in the past two regular seasons. At 6-4 ATS, they are threatening to post their first winning regular season at the betting windows since their national championship year of 2004-05. Against an Oregon team that might be a bit de-poofed after a triumphant game on Saturday, they have a good chance to get a cover this week.
Even though NCAA sanctions will keep the Trojans out of the postseason this year, they are playing with an edge. Despite a heartbreaking triple-overtime loss to Stanford, they bounced back with a pair of wins and easy covers against Colorado and Washington. But lets be honest–they havent faced a team like Oregon yet. Their D is ranked 8th in the nation against the run, which would suggest they match up well with the Ducks. But that statistic has been compiled against far less potent offenses than what they will face on Saturday. In their only other matchup against an elite team, at home against Stanford, they gave up 56 points. And while 22 points of those were in overtime, things dont figure to improve on the road in Eugene.
Fifth in the nation in rushing and third in points scored, the Ducks offense can explode at any time. Even though they are not what you would call a passing team, QB Darron Thomas has 22 touchdowns against only 5 picks. RBs LaMichael James and Kenjon Barner are running wild on opposing defenses. With Thomas dishing the ball to a deep receiving crew, this is a diverse offense that can really tie defenses up in knots, as they showed in putting up 53 against a highly-ranked Stanford team on Saturday.
In a strange way, the week one loss to LSU might have helped this team–at least in a betting sense. An unbeaten Oregon team could be expected to have a down week from time to time. But that loss seemed to steel the Ducks and gave them a greater sense of urgency, like they have something to prove. At number-four in the BCS, they cant afford a slip-up now. After coming so far just to get to this point, a loss of focus seems unlikely. Before its all said and done, Oregon could have a good argument amongst the one-loss group. Which teams wind up in that group remains to be seen.
Scotty Ls Pick to Cover the Point Spread: USC is going to put up points, with Barkley playing well and RB Curtis McNeal putting up big numbers. Its just that theyre going to be in a shootout against a team with superior firepower and that difference will begin to tell in the 2nd half. USC could hang in there and give Oregon backers a sweat, but at some point, the Ducks will explode and leave USC in the dust. My prediction is that the high flying Oregon Ducks beat the minus 15.5 points.
Additional College Football Betting Previews