Southern California Trojans (2-0 SU, 1-1 ATS) vs. Washington Huskies
(1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS), 3:30 p.m. EST, Saturday, September 19, 2009, Husky
Stadium, Seattle, Wash., TV: ABC
by Badger of Predictem.com
Point Spread: USC -18.5/Washington +18.5
Bet this game at a sportsbook that offers progressive parlays! (Parlay wagers where you can lose games and still have it pay out!)
A couple of former colleagues will meet for the first time standing on different sidelines this Saturday afternoon when Steve Sarkisian
and his Washington Huskies welcome his former mentor Pete Carroll and the 3rd-ranked Southern California Trojans into Husky Stadium for the PAC 10 opener for both teams.
Sarkisian bolted the Trojans in the spring to make the rebuilding
project at Washington his first job as a head coach, and already the
Huskies are playing with renewed confidence and energy. Washington
gave LSU everything they could handle in the season opener before
falling (31-23), and they showed last weekend that their week-one
performance wasnt a fluke with a 42-23 victory over Idaho.
Sarkisian has already told the media that Saturdays game will just
be football and nothing more, but its nonsense to believe that the
players, coaches and everyone down to the hot dog venders at Husky
Stadium havent had this game circled on their schedule since he
arrived in Seattle.
But be careful of what you wish for, because theyll have their hands full with the 3rd-ranked Trojans, even if freshman quarterback Matt
Barkley doesnt play due to a sore shoulder.
The Trojans won last
weekend at the Horseshoe, dropping Ohio State with an 80-plus yard
touchdown drive in the closing minutes to steal the victory, 18-15,
so they are road-tested. Plus, what normally would be a classic
letdown game this week following the Ohio State win is negated a
little because Carroll and all of the Trojans upperclassmen wont
want to let their old coach get the better of them.
The point spread originally opened with USC as high as 23-point
favorites at some of the offshore sportsbooks, but as word filtered
out that Barkley has still not practiced at all as of Wednesday, the
number has dropped to as low as 18.5 at some places.
The over/under total hasnt seen as much line movement as the side,
opening at 54 before it dropped a hook to 53.5 at most offshore
books. A few 53s can be found as well if you look hard enough and
you want the other half a point.
Offensively this could be one of the best games in the PAC 10 this season, really. Sure Cal and UCLA are better teams, but the Huskies have Sarkisian, his stellar play-calling ability and a playbook just
like the one in Waterboy full of razzle-dazzle that not even the
Trojans have seen.
Quarterback Jake Locker has been the perfect pupil for the new coach and the Huskies have enjoyed lots of success already, outgaining LSU 478-to-321 in the opening loss, then adding 374 yards versus Idaho.
Perhaps the most impressive stat of the young season is the Huskies
22-for-33 on 3rd-downs through two games, an unbelievable 66.7
percent rate for a young team learning a new offense.
If Barkley cant go the Trojans will plug Aaron Corp into the huddle
and nothing will change. USC will run their five-pack of running
backs at the Huskies to control the clock and wear out the defense
and all will be well in So Cal.
Washingtons defense isnt exactly stiff, as they allowed 149 yards rushing versus LSU one week only to get gouged for 349 yards through the air versus Idaho. Meanwhile, the USC defense has reloaded and is
just as good as past units with only nine points allowed so far this
USC has won seven straight games in the series, including an
embarrassing 56-0 whooping last year, which is why Washington went
out and pulled a member of the Trojan staff to be their head coach.
The Huskies played them close at home in Seattle two years ago,
losing the game 27-24 but covering the point spread as 18.5-point
underdogs (coincidence?). In fact, the home team is 4-1 ATS in the
last five meetings.
The Huskies have actually been a good play for bettors of late, covering in 3 of the last 4 games head-to-head with Southern Cal. And
the one non-cover, last years loss as 45.5-point underdogs, you
could throw out because it came late in the year when Locker was
already out and the rest of the team had packed it in.
Badgers Pick: I expect everything AND the kitchen sink to come into
play for Sarkisian against his old mates. The Huskies might not have
the talent to pull it off, but the effort and a few lucky plays will
certainly come into play in this one. I think Washington will keep it
close but lose in a shootout once they wear down. Take Washington
plus 18.5 points and/or the over of 53.5.