The USC Trojans will look to pick up the pieces on Saturday. They’re coming off a loss to Washington State, unable to escape that one after going through a couple of close calls already. USC hasn’t been good since day 1. They struggled against Western Michigan and it appears it wasn’t just a one-off scenario. The only gave I’ve been impressed by is the Stanford game. Even then, Sam Darnold didn’t play the part.
By play the part, I mean look like a Heisman candidate. The ESPN commentators may be telling you otherwise, but Darnold hasn’t looked good at all. I can name several other quarterbacks who have looked better than him, it isn’t difficult to do. Rather than a Heisman favorite, he looks more like Christian Hackenberg. If you recall, Hackenberg had that one good year and then slid down, all the way to struggling in the NFL.
With that performance against Washington State, it became clear that he already took his name out of the Heisman race. People have short memories, though, so who knows if he lights the field up the rest of the way what will happen. But those chances are extremely thin, he must throw for big numbers and lead USC to a big finish to have any shot. At this point, it’s a shot in the dark, though.
The propeller of their offense has been running back, Ronald Jones. Also, freshman Stephen Carr has looks great in the backfield as well. The receivers in particular really have to step their game up. They lost some talent at that position to the NFL and clearly need one or two guys to emerge as playmakers.
Darnold has been bad, but he needs some help, too. For USC, they luckily draw a team who should provide some practice for them this week. It should be used to get Darnold and his receivers on the same page. Oregon State does not have the best of defenses in college football. If the Trojans struggle here, that’s it, you will hear Darnold and bust in the same sentence louder than ever before. We’ll see what we get out of USC on Saturday. Head below for our free Oregon State vs. USC pick.
Oregon State Beavers vs. USC Trojans Betting Odds:
Oregon State +34(-110)
vs. USC -34(-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Oregon State vs. USC Pick:
Oregon State has seen better days. You must go back a while, but they’ve seen better days before. We must go back to 2013 to find the last they played in a bowl game, a 38-23 win over Boise State. Their only win of this season was a 35-32 win over Portland State. In other words, they haven’t won anything thus far. A 3-point win against Portland State is not really a win in my book. Since then they have struggled mightily, with a 48-14 loss to Minnesota, 52-23 against Washington State, and most recently 42-7 vs Washington. There hasn’t been any defense on Oregon State in 2017.
They have been outgained in every game this season. Portland State even outgained them by 126 yards. Washington had 325 yards on them. Oregon State are 121st, allowing 490 yards per game. Further, they are 128th with respects to points allowed per game, 46.4 points allowed. Whatever way USC decides to move the ball on Oregon State, they’re going to have success. I see this as a game for Darnold to get on track, and I expect a big game from him. Anything less is embarrassing against this defense.
USC haven’t been great defensively. Not as bad as Oregon State, but not great at all. Western Michigan exploited them from the get-go in Week 1, bullying their defensive line and running all over them. USC is 84th against the pass and 78th defending the run. Not good for a team who want to be playing in the playoff. After losing to Washington State, they’ll need a lot go their way for that to happen. I do know they have their way with the Oregon State defense, though. The Trojans should put up 50 and Oregon State should be good for 14 or 17 points to push this one OVER the total.
PICK: OVER 58 (-110)