It wasn’t long ago that USC was sitting with a .500 record and about to face the No. 3 team in the nation. Now, the Trojans are 6-3 and still have a chance at grabbing the Pac-12 South title. On Friday night, they travel to a struggling Colorado team where they are 16 point favorites on the road at 5 Dimes Sportsbook.
USC now has three straight wins, started by a 42-24 win over Utah and then a couple closer Games over California and Arizona. The Trojans aren’t exactly dominating opponents, but they are at least getting wins for interim coach Clay Helton. After this one, they close the season at Oregon and home to UCLA, two difficult Games. Will they look past Colorado this week?
It hasn’t been the best season for the Buffaloes, losing five of their last six Games. While that’s been the case, they have at least competed against some teams, losing by seven to Arizona and Four at UCLA. But most recently, they were handled by Stanford in a 42-10 loss. USC hasn’t really been able to do that against anyone this year, so expect a better effort from Colorado in this matchup.
This meeting hasn’t been too close in recent years though with USC covering in three of the last Four and winning all Four of those by at least 18 points.
Cody Kessler did whatever he wanted last year, throwing for seven touchdowns and 319 yards in a 56-28 win. That could easily be the case again as Colorado’s defense is still having trouble stopping anyone. JuJu Smith-SChuster (60 receptions, 1,094 yards, nine TDs) will likely be on the end of a couple more touchdowns. But Colorado’s run defense is their weak point and that means Ronald Jones and Justin Davis could both be in for big days again after carving through Arizona last weekend.
The one way Colorado can cover as usual will be on the offensive side, where they actually outgained UCLA a couple weeks ago in a 35-31 loss. The Buffaloes will have to repeat that performance. Unfortunately for them, quarterback Sefo Liufau is dealing with a bad wrist, and that may have been part of the issue for his struggles against Stanford. Liufau puts up big numbers once in awhile, but hasn’t thrown a touchdown in two straight Games. It would be wise for the Buffs to get the ground Game going in an effort to keep Kessler off the field. They’ve used a committee of backs lately, but Philip Lindsay leads the group on the year.
Colorado could stay around, but if the defense allows 40 or even 50 points again to the Trojans, it may not matter what Liufau and the offense can do.
As said before, the Trojans are 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings. The under is 6-1 in USC’s last seven road Games, and the Buffaloes have failed to cover in Four straight home Games.
Our Pick – The way we see this Game, only the margin is in doubt. As mentioned above, these two have played the last 4 years and the closest Game was 18 points. There’s a talent gap between the two programs and quite frankly, nothing has changed.
Sure, Colorado has a little more motivation this time around with the Game being on Friday Night before a National TV audience, but that will only go so far.
Our model has USC on top by 21+ points. USC -16