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Stanford vs. USC Football Pick with Analysis

10/29/11

#20 and 6-1 USC hosts #4 and undefeated Stanford on Saturday night in a game that will be seen across the country on ABC TV at 8 pm est. USC finds itself as a +7 point home dog in the contest with a posted total of 60, one week after the biggest win in the Lane Kiffin era, A 31-17 road win at Notre Dame.

For USC, it's all about playing the role of spoiler this year. There's no post season to play for. No titles. All they can do is go out each week and attempt to prove they are among the best in the PAC-12 and the country.

Just the opposite is true for Stanford. The Cardinal has plenty to play for. Like staying undefeated and having the potential to play in the BCS title game. Stanford has their toughest games still to come, so we shall see. The biggest knock against Stanford heading into this week is their soft schedule. Last week, Washington was the first team in the top 25 that Stanford had played.

To Stanford's credit, they have done what you would expect a very good team to do with a soft schedule. They have blown the doors off of every team they have faced, including Washington last week, 65-21. In fact Stanford has won 10 straight games dating back to last season by 25 points or more. Very impressive and that included a 40-12 route of Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl.

It's difficult to get sky high for a game two weeks in a row but that's what USC faces. The Notre Dame game means more to USC than any other game on their schedule and that comes from the Athletic Director. But now, after traveling halfway across the country and back, they'll have to attempt to duplicate that intensity this week and prevent the potential for a let down.

USC looked good last week against the Irish. They held Notre Dame to just 44 rushing yards and their 2nd lowest point total of the year, 17 points. But outside of the Notre Dame game, the same argument can be made about the Trojans and their schedule as is made about Stanford. The one time they stepped up in class saw them clobbered 43-22 by Arizona State. They were lucky to get by Minnesota and Utah and were unimpressive against Syracuse. They also gave up 41 points to Arizona.

Stanford has a blistering yards per point number of 10 offensively and one of the best ypp defensive numbers in the nation defensively at 25. USC weighs in with a 14 on offense and a 16 on defense, average. Our model has Stanford winning by a predicted score of 35-18, a 17 point margin and we agree with the model. Stanford can't afford to leave their fate up to the pollsters by just winning. They need to continue to win impressively or risk the chance of being on the outside looking in even if they stay undefeated.

Great QB match up here between two future NFL QB's, Andrew Luck and Matt Barkley but Luck is in a class all by himself. He's a super star now and will more than likely be a super star at the next level. We have mentioned in the past that the QB position can be overrated in college ball. Not true here as neither of these guys could be replaced this year without a serious negative impact on their teams. But the nod goes to Luck. Stanford -7

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