This is going to be a fun Game. USC rebounded last week with a cool 48-17 win against Arizona State and still has a really good chance to win the Pac-12 South. But doing so requires a win against an Arizona team that is scoring for fun against previously thought to be good teams. Still, playing at home and as a more popular team, the Trojans were -7.5 point home favorites early in the week at 5Dimes Sportsbook.
The Arizona turnaround this season isn’t dissimilar from that of USC last season. Once Sam Darnold took over, USC looked like a completely different team that scored at will. It’s the same for Arizona with explosive Kahlil Tate, who’s been even better than Darnold a season ago. since Tate became starter, the Wildcats have scored at least 45 points in the last Four Games, with the 58 against Washington State last week standing out.
On the season, Tate is rolling with a ridiculous 13.4 yards per carry for 926 yards and nine touchdowns. The kid has been the most electric player in college football the last few weeks, yet isn’t getting as much buzz playing for Arizona. That could change this week. USC has had trouble stopping the run all season and was run over by Notre Dame a couple weeks ago. If Tate can continue to make plays along with J.J. Taylor in rushing attack, that should at least keep this Game close. When forced to pass, Tate has also been great as seen in his 11.7 yards per attempt and 187.5 QB rating.
USC finally came out and did what was expected of them last week and handled Arizona State in a 48-17 win. Doing that on a consistent basis hasn’t been what this team is about, though. After taking care of Stanford, they barely beat Texas the next week. After beating Oregon State by 28 points, they barely snuck past Utah the following Game. For the Trojans to cover, they’ll need to repeat last week’s performance, and consistency hasn’t been their strong suit this season.
The big thing is that Arizona’s defense isn’t good, giving up 30 points and 300 passing yards per Game. While Tate has been great on the offensive side, the defense still can’t stop anyone. Similar to last week, the Trojans will want to focus on the ground Game between Ronald Jones II and Aca’Cedric Ware in order to keep Tate off the field. If they can establish a rushing attack, that should lead to another good Game for Sam Darnold, who continues to look mediocre every week.
The Trojans are more talented and have the ability to dominate this Game, but there aren’t any reasons to trust them at this point. The Wildcats are flying with Tate and will be a hard team to bet against even on the road. Don’t forget, USC’s close wins against Texas and Utah also came at the Coliseum.
The Wildcats are 2-8 ATS in their last 10 road Games, but all of those losses came before Tate. The Trojans are 1-4 ATS in their last five Pac-12 Games and 1-4 ATS in their last five home Games. The underdog is 10-2 ATS in the last 12 meetings between these schools. The under is 8-3 in the last 11 meetings, but that will be hard to take in this matchup.
Our Pick – Arizona +7.5