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Stanford

vs.

USC

College Football Pick

9/9/17

It’s only the second week of the season, but a Pac-12 showdown between USC and Stanford is already upon us. As the Cardinal return from a trip to Australia two weeks ago, the Trojans are coming off a lackluster performance in their opener. USC still opened as -6.5 point favorites at 5Dimes Sportsbook.

Things didn’t go to plan for USC against Western Michigan, failing to separate from the Broncos until the final seven minutes of the game for a 48-31 win. Sam Darnold was the favorite to win the Heisman entering the season, but he threw a couple picks in the opener after just nine interceptions all of last year. If it wasn't for the ground game that compiled 232 yards and six touchdowns, the Trojans would’ve been in real trouble. Either way, they still could be in trouble as the defense didn’t look great allowing 263 rushing yards, while stopping a non-existent passing game.

Maybe USC was sleepwalking or maybe there are some real worries with the team. At the least, we should get some answers in this game. If Darnold doesn’t return to last year’s levels, Stanford will have a real shot at an upset because the Trojans will undoubtedly have a more difficult time finding room to run behind Ronald Jones II (159 yards). And while Max Browne was the quarterback in this matchup last year, it can’t be overlooked that the Cardinal still dominated the game in a 28-10 win. The USC running game will try and match the 4.5 yards per carry from that contest and hope that Darnold can be the difference.

On the other side, it’s the same offense for Stanford, but with Keller Chryst at quarterback. He’s nothing special, but the Cardinal haven’t had a special quarterback since Andrew Luck. They’ll focus on the ground game with Bryce Love, who had 13 carries for 180 yards in the opener. After gouging USC for 302 rushing yards last year and with how WMU ran against them in the opener, Stanford could have similar success in this game.

In the end, this matchup may come down to what the Trojans can do defensively because if they can’t stop Stanford’s running game, things could go the same way as a year ago. Sure, Darnold is under center, but against a better defense than what he saw last week, some bettors will be turned off by the Trojans.

Still, with USC at home, the Trojans got a little more love in the spread in addition to being a more popular team to bet on. Yet with how these teams played in their first games and how this meeting played out last season, it’ll be hard to take USC at more than six points. The Cardinal will eventually see some money due to better play in the trenches, while led offensively by Bryce Love in the running game.

Our Pick - Can't underestimate the power of REVENGE in college football and this one is a double revenge set up for the Trojans. But in a game where all signs point to a toss up,  see no reason not to take the points. Stanford +5.5

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