No. 5 USC Trojans (4-0 SU, 1-3 ATS) at No. 16 Washington State Cougars (4-0 SU, 2-2 ATS)
College Football Week 5
Date/Time: Friday, September 29, 10:30PM EST
Where: Martin Stadium, Pullman, WA.
by Wilson, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: USC -4/WSU +4
Over/Under Total: OFF
Friday night lights, the college version, takes place this week in the tiny town of Pullman, Washington. Surrounded by rolling wheat fields and the occasional grange hall, No. 5 USC Trojans will attempt to tame the home team No. 18 WSU Cougars. This showdown between two undefeated Pac 12 teams will be nationally broadcast on ESPN. Last week USC defeated the California Golden Bears 30-20 while WSU beat the Nevada Wolf Pack 45-7. It is no secret that USC is one of the perennial household names in college football and deservingly so, but the WSU Cougars are a talented bunch who look forward to hosting USC and the possibility to remain unbeaten on the season. Showcase players in this contest include two Heisman candidate quarterbacks in USCs Sam Darnold and WSUs Luke Falk. Both QBs are playmakers. Darnold is a Blue Collar Geter Done type, and Falk is more a Wall Street type of QB who completes as many passes as a day trader completes deals. These two QBs should provide plenty of excitement on Friday night.
The Trojans have been a bit lethargic offensively this season through their first four games. USC has either trailed or been tied during the last 15 minutes in three of the four contests. Granted the Men of Troy have faced some big programs in Texas, Stanford, and the latest opponent the Golden Bears. The Trojans played without their starting running back, Ronald Jones, last week which accounts for some of their struggle offensively. Jones status is questionable again as of this writing with an ankle injury. Also, questionable for the Trojans offense is starting WR Steven Mitchell with a groin injurythese two players are weapons that Darnold hopes to have on the field when they kickoff in Pullman.
Perhaps the saving grace for the Trojans this early in the season has been the play of their defense. USCs D has forced 11 turnovers already this year (3rd best in the country) and six of those came last week against Cal. The Trojans have speed and talent like usual throughout their defensive positions and they hope to disrupt Washington States Air Raid Offense as well as slow down the Cougs recently established running game.
Offensively for WSU, it is a familiar themeLuke Falk throwing the pigskin to a plethora of receivers. However, the Cougars also run the ball now which makes their passing game even more of a threat. Falk tossed his 100th career touchdown pass last week versus Nevada to become 3rd on the Pac 12s career passing list. WSU is averaging 44 points per game (12th in the nation). They will need to be solid on the O-line to allow their playmakers to get it done via pass or run. The Cougs are 4-0 for the first time in 16 years and if they want to stay undefeated they must play their best game yet of this young season. USC is the toughest team theyve faced. The most notable victory for WSU this season was their double overtime win over Boise State (although now it doesnt seem as strong because Boise State just got destroyed at home by Virginia). Meanwhile, the Trojans have already beaten, at the time, No. 14 Stanford, Texas in 2OT, and Cal last week. USC is currently on a 13-game winning streak dating back to last season (the longest streak at Southern Cal since the Pete Carroll era). As good as Luke Falk and the Cougs are offensively it wont be enough to overcome the Trojans mighty defenseUSCs D will be the difference in this contest. Luke Falk and company will give it their all but in the end I like USC to shut down the Air Raid and close out this road trip with a significant Pac 12 win. USC 31, WSU 24.
I like USC to cover the 4 points on the road.
Wilson’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: The Trojans cover the spread. Luck to ya. – Not all sportsbooks are created equal! Many are fly by night, poorly run and your loot is actually at risk. End that problem today by signing up at one of the web’s oldest and most trusted sportsbooks! Online for over 15 years, your credit card will work and you’ll also receive a 50% bonus up to $250 FREE at Bovada Sportsbook!