College Football: Oregon Ducks at USC Trojans
It feels like the Oregon Ducks have had a lot of challenging-but-passable tests this season and this week is one more. If they want to stay alive in a race for a College Football Playoff berth, they can’t fail here.
The Ducks will visit the Trojans, who are 5-3 and have looked both great and awful this season. If both teams play their best, Oregon wins but can they do that on the road in The Coliseum?
OREGON DUCKS AT USC TROJANS
CFB ODDS: OREGON -4
CFB TOTAL: 63
WHY THE DUCKS WILL COVER THE SPREAD
The Oregon defense hasn’t been elite the past few weeks, but the offense has managed to compensate for the defense’s shortcomings. Oregon has won shootouts the last two weeks, prevailing in come-from-behind fashion in games played in the 30’s. They trailed Washington by 14 and won 35-31, then gave up a late touchdown to trail 35-34 to Washington State but drove down the field for a winning field goal in a 37-35 victory last week. Quarterback Justin Herbert is making all the clutch plays in all the big moments, and with that level of confidence, it will be hard for opponents to stop Oregon’s offense in November.
The other big part of this equation is that USC’s defense looked terrible last week against a Colorado team which had been struggling and which had been smothered by Oregon earlier this year. USC allowed 520 yards, 25 first downs, and 34 minutes in time of possession. The Trojans didn’t force a turnover. They allowed 31 points and Colorado could have done more damage had the Buffaloes not committed close to 15 penalties in that game. Oregon should be able to light up the USC defense and get enough defensive stops to win this game comfortably.
WHY THE TROJANS WILL COVER THE SPREAD
The big thing about the Trojans is that whereas they struggle away from home, they are very good at home in Los Angeles. The Trojans are 4-0 at home, 1-3 on the road. USC allows an average of 20 points per game at home compared to 29.8 points per game on the road. In terms of the offense, they 36.8 at home versus 25.8 points on the road. Those splits are significant.
At home this season, the Trojans have topped a decent Fresno State side, clubbed Stanford, beat a very good Utah team and smoked Arizona. They’re clearly a cut above when they’re in front of their own audience. It’s mostly been a rough year for Clay Helton and company as the team already has three losses. However, getting a win over a Top 10 team like Oregon would be a huge feather in their cap.
The odds show that they have a shot at this. Oregon is just 5-11 ATS in their last 16 as a road favorite of 3.5 to seven points.
TAKING A LOOK AT THE TOTAL
The Trojans’ secondary hemorrhaged yards against Colorado – 324 – and Oregon just got done playing a 37-35 game one week after playing a 35-31 game. And given the Trojans home-away splits, it probably means we see a quality effort from their offense this week, which should point us to a shootout in L.A.