College Football Pick
USC still has a realistic shot of reaching the Pac-12 title Game, which is something no one thought they’d be saying after the Trojans started the season at 1-3. The other team in this Game has been in the opposite situation, as UCLA needs to win its last two Games to have a shot at a bowl Game. Because of that, the Trojans are favored by -13.
There’s not a whole lot not to like about USC right now, winning its last six Games including a huge 26-13 result at Washington last weekend. If the Trojans can beat the Huskies by 13 on the road, then there’s no question they can take down UCLA by more than that. The hope for the Trojans is that Colorado slips up in one of its two remaining Games so USC can make the Pac-12 title Game.
UCLA was supposed to be one of the best teams in the Conference led by one of the best quarterbacks, but nothing has come to fruition due to Josh Rosen’s injury. The Bruins have lost Four of their last five and while they won last week, beating Oregon State doesn’t say much. The only thing in their favor this Game is that they haven’t lost by more than nine points at home this season.
This result could easily go the same as it did last year with USC winning 40-21. The difference in that Game was that UCLA actually had a running Game with Paul Perkins. This time around, the Bruins are averaging 2.9 yards per carry as a team and don’t have a running back with more than 308 yards. That’s not going to get you many places, especially with a backup quarterback.
Going against a defense that just held down Washington, it’s hard to see how UCLA’s offense will have any success in this Game with Mike Fafaul at quarterback. He has nine touchdowns and 10 interceptions on the season with eight of those TDs coming in two Games against Washington State and Utah. Fafaul hasn’t been completely terrible, but he’s a level below Josh Rosen and without a running Game, that’s troubling.
The Bruins need to lean on their defense if they want a chance in this Game to at least get the cover. They’ve been fine for the most part, holding down Colorado and Wazzu somewhat, but they also gave up 52 points at home to Utah.
Offensively, USC has throttled weaker defenses in the past couple months led by freshman quarterback Sam Darnold, who took over Four Games into the season. Darnold has been great with 22 passing touchdowns and only six interceptions. He has Four interceptions in the last three Games, but he’s still been super efficient, completing just above 68% of his passes.
In addition to him, the Trojans also have a solid running attack, something UCLA doesn’t. Ronald Jones II has been great the last few Games with his 93 yards against Washington leading the way.
The Bruins will hope home field under the lights will be enough to give their team a chance, but with the way USC is playing, that seems like a long shot.
The Trojans have covered in their last Four, but are 2-6 ATS in their last eight road Games. Of course, those two covers have come in their most recent road Games. Meanwhile, the Bruins are 1-8 ATS in their last nine following an ATS win and 0-5 ATS in their last five following a straight-up win. In the last six meetings between these schools in UCLA, the Bruins are 5-1 ATS. Also, the under is 8-1-1 in the last 10 meetings.
Our Pick – UCLA +13