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Oregon vs. USC

College Football Game of the Week

Betting Line: Oregon -6.5 o/u 71

10/30/10

It may be October, but there will be a Bowl game played this week. Make no mistake, taking on #1 Oregon is a Bowl game for the USC Trojans and they will treat it as such. HC Lane Kiffin's team sits at 5-2 and as most know by now, they are banned from postseason play. What better way to make 2010 count than by downing the #1 Oregon Ducks? If they are able to do so it will be the 4th consecutive week in which a #1 team has fallen. This game will take place at the Los Angeles Coliseum. The line open at 7 in favor of Oregon where it currently stands.

You aren't hearing much about him, but QB Matt Barkley is playing well in 2010. The sophomore has quietly passed for 1,869 yards and 20 TDs. His Trojans enter this week after a bye. In their last game they won 48-14 over California. Barkley had his best game of the year, tossing 5 TDs while completing 25 of 37 passes for 352 yards. The Trojans have two reliable RBs in Allen Bradford and Marc Tyler. The duo combined for 4 TDs and 283 yards in a 32-31 loss to Washington. If all three of these guys are able to put together big games against Oregon it could be lights out for the nation's top team.

The USC offense has been excellent as a whole. They are getting 400+ yards in nearly every game. In their last game against California they racked up 602 yards. Much up this impressive work is done behind a stellar offensive line that has allowed just 6 sacks in 2010. They will have to click on all cylinders to win this game, but it's very possible for them to do that.

The Oregon Ducks have been largely unstoppable on offense. They are winning the war in the trenches and have allowed just 2 sacks this year. QB Sophomore QB Darron Williams has passed for 17 TDs and 1,539 yards this year. The majority of the work is being done on the ground however. Sophomore LaMichael James is averaging a massive 7.2 YPC and has 971 yards and 11 TDs on the year. As if those two weren't enough, the Ducks have yet another weapon in RB Remene Alston. He had 3 TDs in Oregon's lopsided 60-13 win over UCLA last week. Senior Jeff Maehl is the top WR for the Ducks. He has reeled in 39 catches and 6 TDs for 530 yards.

The Ducks rank 12th in the nation in Points Against at 15.9, but this paints a much rosier picture than reality reveals. Arizona State scorched them for 597 yards, and if not for winning the TO war by 5, they very easily could have lost. Stanford had 514 yards and looked unstoppable for a half. To their credit, the Ducks shut Stanford down in the second half. The Trojans are very clearly the best offense the top ranked Ducks have faced in 2010. They have threats all over the place. This is the game where we will find out what Oregon is truly made of on defense.

Perhaps the most important matchup in this game will be the USC defense against the Oregon offense. Can they stop LaMichael James? They allowed 538 yards in a loss to Washington, and 588 in a win against Hawaii. They did show potential last week holding California to 245 yards. The Bears lowest total before that was 356 yards. With an extra week of rest and knowing what is at stake, we expect a solid effort from the Trojans on defense. 

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This is easily the college football game of the week. It's a fascinating game for so many reasons. For USC, it's the biggest game they'll play all year. It's their "title game". USC coaches spent the bye week recruiting. Recruiting all over the country. You can be sure the last thing they said before leaving each recruit this past week was "tune in Saturday night and see for yourself what awaits you if you choose USC". When Pete Carroll left town and the NCAA sanctions hit, USC lost some luster in the recruiting ranks and even had players leave the program which has contributed to a lack of depth on this team. This game is huge for the current USC players but even bigger for the future of this program.

It's not exactly a small game for Oregon either. They have a #1 ranking to defend as well as some recruiting power to gain. When you have a giant down on the ground, you have to finish him off and drive the stake through his heart. Let him off the hook, he'll likely come back and take you out. That's the situation facing Oregon.

This game is all about offense. Both teams are going to get their yards and points. No question. I wouldn't expect a shut out this week! So it comes down to which team you'd rather have in a shootout, and for us, that team is Oregon. True, you have to consider schedule strength and who they have played, but this team is putting on an offensive show unlike any we've seen in a major conference in many years. (Sorry Boise, we said "Major" conference)

USC is giving up on average 402 yards per game compared with Oregon who is giving up 331 and is also 12th in the country in points allowed at 16 points per game. That puts Oregon in the top half of the country defensively while USC is in the bottom half in both yardage and points allowed.

You have to look at this game and figure, despite what a huge game this is for USC, if Hawaii, Washington and Stanford were able to average 35 points scored against USC, what's Oregon going to do?

We simply prefer the Oregon side in a shoot out. Their offense is lethal. They can strike quickly and often. They can blow a game wide open in the blink of an eye and they also have something USC doesn't......depth. This team wears other teams down late in games. Only one team has scored against Oregon in the 4th quarter this year. In fact, pay attention to the halftime line in this one. An even stronger play might be on Oregon in the 2nd half if the price is right.

The feeling here is that this is the year of the Duck. This is their year, and if they are going to win a football game, they are likely to do it by double digits as they have in every game this year. This is a big game, no doubt. But it's big for BOTH teams and we think the right side here is Oregon -6.5




 

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