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USC vs. Oregon Pick with Analysis

11/19/11

Oregon (9-1) and USC (8-2) both registered crushing wins a week ago as the Ducks defeated Stanford 53-30 and the Trojans downed Washington 40-17. These teams boast high octane offenses and this projects to be a very entertaining game and an enticing one to wager on. Oregon is a -15 point home favorite at 5 Dimes with a total of 67.

The offensive identity for the Ducks hasn't changed from their undefeated season a year ago. They rely heavily on QB Darron Thomas and RB LaMichael James. Thomas passed for 155 yards and 3 TDs against Stanford, but it was James that stole the show. He carried the ball 20 times for 146 yards and 3 TDs. His best play of the game was a 58 yard TD run in the second quarter. USC is going to have their hands full trying to contain him.

USC has scored at least 40 points in three consecutive games. QB Matt Barkley has been a big reason for that. The junior has thrown 10 combined TD passes in that span. Barkley set a USC record with 6 TD passes against Colorado. His favorite target is sophomore Robert Woods who has 92 catches for 1,126 yards and 11 TDs this season.

We came into this game looking to potential back USC here, simply because it looked like a good spot to catch Oregon napping. The Ducks are in off a huge win last week at Stanford in a game that attracted college football fans nationwide. No one was mentioning USC. In the meantime, USC has nothing to play for other than pride. They can't play in the PAC 12 title game and they can't play in a bowl. This is their last crack against an elite team and there's no question they want to show the college football world that they can play with anyone. It's a nice situational spot for the Trojans.

But as we got into handicapping this game, it just became harder and harder to ignore the Ducks side. We talk about a letdown but after losing to LSU to open the year Oregon has yet to let up with the pedal to the floor through 9 straight games. The smallest margin of victory was 14 against Arizona State and they are averaging 47 points per game.

USC is a good football team. But so was Stanford! USC gave up 34 points to Stanford in regulation time. They gave up 43 to Arizona State and 41 to Arizona. You think Oregon is going to score some points here? You think USC can match them score for score? Stanford couldn't.

It's a tough call as we could see USC playing their best game of the year Saturday but we're going to go ahead and lay the big number here as the Ducks should be plenty motivated themselves to impress the pollsters. Our model likes Oregon 46-25 and we'll agree. Oregon -15

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