USC vs. Oregon: Expert Analysis and Point Spread Prediction
USC Trojans (7-3 SU, 2-8 ATS) vs. Oregon Ducks (8-1 SU, 8-1 ATS)
College Football Week 11
Date and Time: Saturday, November 11, 2023 at 10:30PM EST
Where: Autzen Stadium, Eugene, Oregon
Point Spread: USC +15/ORE -15 (Bovada)
Money Line: USC +500, ORE -750
Over/Under Total: 73.5
The USC Trojans take on the Oregon Ducks in a big Pac-12 matchup on Saturday in Eugene. Oregon is sitting at 8-1, a close loss to Washington their only setback in a season that could still produce some big things. On Saturday, a 63-19 win over Cal showed they are in good form late this season, ready to close strong. Standing in their way is an incoming USC squad, coming off a 52-42 loss to unbeaten Washington, their third loss in four games. Can they resurrect their season, or will they be easy pickings for the peaking Ducks on Saturday?
Big Things to Play For
Oregon has a chance to do some big things if they can maybe win a rematch with Washington down the line, but I wouldn’t rule out USC running up the white flags just yet. They’re still 5-2 in the conference and need a lot of stars to align to earn a spot in the conference title game, but I’d expect them to keep pushing. Defensive coordinator Alex Grinch was fired after allowing 52 to Washington, just one of many poor defensive showings this season. It’s the part of the team that has undermined the whole operation, as the offense is still strong enough to compete with anyone in the conference. Still, after giving up 102 points in their last two games, facing a high-flying Oregon offense might not be what the doctor ordered.
Since losing to Washington by 3, Oregon’s last three games have been impressive. Along with their well-established offensive firepower, their defense has dialed it in, allowing 25 combined points in their last two games. And they are once again at Autzen Stadium this week, nice and dug in after putting up 63 last week. They are looking for an emphatic finish that resonates with voters.
More Problems for the USC Defense This Week?
Oregon quarterback Bo Nix has been excellent. He has 30 touchdowns and threw only his second pick of the season last week in the middle of a blowout over Cal. Running backs Jordan James and Bucky Irving have combined for twenty touchdowns. WR Troy Franklin should go over 1000 yards this week, and with ample other receiving talent, this offense can be a handful. This is especially true at home, where they seem almost a notch better. Having a new voice leading the USC “D” might be helpful, as Grinch had apparently run out of answers, but a late-season turnaround seems unlikely, and this would be a bizarre spot to see a surge against an Oregon offense that has a lot of the line.
Saving Grace for Southern Cal?
For all their issues on defense, the potency of the USC offense makes them a threat against anyone in the conference. Other than their two-game stretch against Notre Dame and Utah, all their point totals are in the 40’s, 50’s, or 60’s. QB Caleb Williams has 28 TDs through the air and another ten on the ground. MarShawn Lloyd (questionable) and Austin Jones are two serious backs, while Tajh Washington and Brendan Rice lead a powerful receiving crew. If USC is going to make a late-season run to salvage a season that has gone sideways with three losses in four games, it will be this offense that digs them out of it. Maybe Williams lays it on the line as his USC career heads into its final stages. If a team has some dysfunction, a great offense is one way to at least camouflage it for a week.
But alas, it won’t be easy, and despite Washington being unbeaten, it might be the Oregon defense that has had the best season in this conference, with Washington’s 36-point output being the most Oregon has given up, with their six other conference games leading to a combined point-allowance of 61 points. So, other than the Huskies, they’re giving up about ten points a game. It’s an impactful group that can put a real dent into an opposing offense with a big pass-rush, and a ball-hawk secondary, not to mention good general stoutness in all areas. USC can’t come in here and think it’s going to come down to a shootout, which is no guarantee with this Oregon defense.
We’re in November, and USC has not sniffed a spread since September. Their only win in their last four is a 50-49 win over Cal when Cal went for the two instead of OT late, the same Cal team that got stuffed into a garbage can by the Ducks last week. It’s a big spread here, make no mistake. It’s meant to induce bets on a sideways USC team where people may be soured on their prospects, especially after seeing their season spoiled to some extent with that third loss last week. This is the worst get-right spot, having to come into Eugene against his Ducks team. Making it even more difficult is that USC has not covered the spread in conference, while Oregon is 8-1 against the spread in the Pac-12.
Lay the Points
Again, it’s a large-sized spread, and it’s hard to argue against the value that it represents for the Trojans. This offense has a certain appeal as a better-than-two TD dog, make no mistake. I just see them being in opposite headspaces, with Oregon looking to make that last big push with USC crestfallen after last week to some extent. The defense likely won’t get worse with Grinch gone, but other than against a Utah team playing a backup that still put up 34 against them, they’ve been getting lit up by everyone in this conference, and I don’t see it ebbing this week of all weeks. I’ll take the Ducks.
Loot’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I’m betting on the Oregon Ducks minus 15 points.