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Texas

vs.

USC 

College Football

Free Pick

9/16/17

Two of the more covered teams in country face off in an interesting matchup this weekend. USC is coming off a nice win over Stanford, while Texas gained some confidence after disposing of San Jose State. Unsurprisingly, the Trojans are decent-sized -17 point home favorites at 5Dimes Sportsbook.

After a questionable first performance, USC looked the part as one of the better teams in the nation in the win against the Cardinal. Sam Darnold only had one more incompletion (5) than touchdown passes (4), while Ronald Jones II and Stephen Carr both ran for 100 yards against a good defense. If the Trojans can drop 42 points against Stanford, there’s no telling what will happen against Texas. Darnold already has a worrying four interceptions, but he should be set for another 300 passing yards to go with another 100-yard performance for Jones in the backfield.

The Longhorns just got a shutout, but it remains to be seen what that will mean for them against better offenses. They were gashed for 51 points by Maryland in the opener and that already had fans criticizing new head coach Tom Herman. It’s inevitable the Trojans will score a bunch in this game, but limiting them at times and making a few stops would be huge for Texas.

On the other side, the Longhorns shouldn’t have issues moving the ball, either. Quarterback Shane Buechele hasn’t been great in the first two games with the main selling point for this offense being running back Chris Warren III, who just ran for 166 yards on 16 carries against SJSU. But while USC’s defense hasn’t been great, they still have more talent and a better overall group than anything Maryland or SJSU has thrown at the Longhorns. That’ll be one of the bigger things to watch in this game as Texas’s offense is the only thing that has kept this team going in the first two games.

As for the Trojans, they’ve been destroyed by the running games of both Western Michigan and Stanford. As long as Texas can find room on the ground early, that could be enough to not only keep the score close and continue running, but also keep Darnold off the field as much as possible. USC just beat Stanford by 18 points, so it makes sense that this line is around the same number.

The Trojans have the ability to blow out Texas, but that’d require a much better defensive effort compared to what they’ve displayed in the first two games. If the defense continues to struggle, Buechele and Warren should find enough space to move the ball and put points on the board for the Longhorns. While that may not be enough to win this game, that could be enough to cover against a team that has shown little consistency in its first two games. USC went toe-to-toe with Western Michigan and then dealt with Stanford fairly easily last week. Now what Trojans team will show up against the Longhorns?

Our Pick - The jury is still out on both of these squads, particularly on the defensive side of things. San Jose may have been just what the Longhorns needed to work out some of those "new coach growing pains". We know Texas can put points on the board and we know the USC defense can be exploited. That's enough for us to grab the very generous points being offered. Texas +15.5

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