The Southern California Trojans head into Palo Alto, California to take on Stanford. This game comes on the heels of a heartbreaking loss for the USC faithful. Last week, the Washington Huskies came out victorious after capping off a last-minute 10-play drive culminating with a 32-yard field goal as the Trojans fell by a point at home in the Coliseum. Head Coach Lane Kiffin will certainly be looking forward to this week—a tussle with an outstanding Stanford team. But, one that is coming off a different kind of loss. The Cardinal traveled to Eugene, Oregon where the home town Ducks put up an impressive second-half display where they ran out 52-31 winners over a Stanford team that had all of their points at halftime—including three first-quarter touchdowns. The Trojans will be looking for another key contribution from Matt Barkley who has thrown for 1127 yards and 12 touchdowns compared to only four interceptions. But, the defense is where USC is having its most trouble. They are 100th in total yards allowed and a staggering 117th in pass defense/ yards. It’s probably not a good recipe as they get ready go to against a special Stanford quarterback.
Andrew Luck can be found at the top of some draft experts’ hot boards. The Stanford quarterback has a timely delivery, strong arm and terrific mobility. After a 31-point first-half explosion versus a great Oregon team last week, he and his Cardinal teammates will be chomping at the bit for a piece of the USC pass defense. And…with good reason. With USC’s defensive frailties at the back previously mentioned, the Cardinal offense boasts some fine statistics of their own. They rank 28th in the country in pass offense, 16th in total yards and 5th in points scored. It certainly does bode well for a Stanford team who will come back home to the friendly confines of Stanford Stadium where they have won eight of their last nine games. This game will serve as a good measuring stick for how tough this Stanford team is after a crushing loss that could put a huge dent in their bid to win the Pac-10 Conference.
While the Cardinal have a pair of injuries in their backfield—running backs Jeremy Stewart and Tyler Gaffney— only one receiver (Ryan Whalen) is missing. With that said, the Cardinal aerial attack shouldn’t suffer too much and Luck should continue to have time to ping his receivers left and right. It’s hard to shore up a bad pass defense overnight. But, that is essentially what the Trojans need to do if they are to have any chance in this ball game. On the other side, USC has a good offense while Stanford has a capable, if not unspectacular, defense. But, the gap from the Stanford offense to the USC defense may be too much to stomach for even the most staunch of Trojan supporters.
USC at Stanford Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
@ Stanford -10
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USC at Stanford Prediction for Week 6:
Game Total Prediction (Top Play) – Don’t make any mistake about it. 59 points is a lot. In the NFL, it’s an eternity. In college, it’s nothing too crazy. But, we see a good USC offense—14th in total yardage in the country— and a very good Stanford offense as well. On paper, we don’t see a standout defense that can lock people down. Stanford was riddled for 52 last week while USC’s defensive inabilities have been well documented. Both teams featuring outstanding quarterback play and we’ll assume that will be just enough to get the overall point total well over 59, if not into the 70’s.
Spread Prediction – Stanford is 12-3 ATS in their last 15 home games while USC is 5-16 in their last 21 October games. While statistics only can mean so much there is no doubting the kind of glaring disparity between the Cardinal offense—mainly the passing game— and what can only be described as an absolutely atrocious pass defense for the visiting Trojans. While USC can score points (81 scored in their last two games) there is no real reason to think they’ll be able to rightfully contain the Cardinal passing attack. Because of Luck and co. playing at home to a team their fan base loves to beat, it seems a simple selection.
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