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USC vs. Arizona State Pick – NCAAF Week 9

If you want to see ugly by USC, watch the USC Trojans and Notre Dame Fighting Irish from last week. USC were humiliated against their rivals in South Bend, as they took a 49-14 loss. It was another performance to forget for Sam Darnold and the Trojans. Darnold didn’t necessarily play horrible football, but he didn’t play well enough to win games for his team.

At this point in his career, and where he is ranked as an NFL prospect, Darnold must find ways to win games on his shoulders. I would have given him a pass last week, the defense allowed 49 points, but he didn’t do anything to make it a game. Darnold would be best served to go back to school another year and get better.

There would still be teams looking to grab him in the first-round, but he’s going to slide from what his original projection was entering this season, which was the first or second selection. Beyond dollar signs, Darnold would come into the NFL a little more polished and mature in 2019. He has an NFL arm, nobody is doubting that, but he has to settle down and read defenses better. You can’t get by in the NFL with just an arm alone. Arizona State will look to keep the bad times rolling for Darnold and USC on Saturday night.

The loss sealed their fate, with Notre Dame closing the door on their college football playoff aspirations. They came into the season with plenty of hype and expectations, but are going out with a fizzle. With two losses, though, USC looks like they’re not going to make it as one of the four teams in the playoff. They can still win the Pac-12 and play in a quality bowl game, though.

Darnold has passed for 17 touchdowns and 10 interceptions with a 63.5% completion percentage. He might not be NFL ready, but running back Ronald Jones sure looks like he’s ready to make the jump, however. USC need a bounce back performance, while Arizona State is seeking a marquee win. Head below for our free USC vs. Arizona State pick.

USC Trojans vs. Arizona State Sun Devils Betting Odds:

Spread:
USC -3.5(-110)
vs. Arizona State +3.5(-110)

Total:
Over 59(-110)
Under 59(-110)

Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv

USC vs. Arizona State Pick:

Sam Darnold should be happy to get Arizona State this week. After a bad week against Notre Dame, he gets the Sun Devils. Specifically, he gets the Arizona State defense. He needs to play well against a team with a bad pass defense. The Sun Devils are 98th against the pass, allowing 251.7 yards per game.

However, Arizona State are coming off a couple of impressive victories. Teams often have letdown spots after big wins, but they kept it rolling after pulling out an upset against Washington. They followed the 13-7 win with a 30-10 win over Utah. That’s one of the better stretches we’ve seen from the Sun Devils in a while.

The Trojans best win this year came against Stanford. That was their most complete effort this year, a 42-24 win over the Cardinal. They beat Texas in a rematch of the 2006 National Championship, but USC did not play up to expectations, needing overtime to take down the Longhorns. USC needs to get the running game going against Arizona State. Ronald Jones is capable of doing it. He has 672 yards on the season with 9 touchdowns combined.

Arizona State are 68th against the run, so it’s certainly possible. If Jones gets going, Darnold should be in for a nice day. The Sun Devil defense has been playing their best football the last couple of weeks, though, holding Washington and Utah to just 17 points combined. The defense has been carrying the team. Under Manny Wilkins the offense isn’t clicking for Arizona State.

When I looked at the schedule before the season started, I looked at this game and looked like a letdown spot for USC after the Notre Dame game. However, because the Trojans played so badly, that letdown angle is thrown out the window. I can see Darnold springing to life finally and putting together a game for ESPN to get excited over. They can’t afford to look like garbage again this week. USC take it by 7 or 10 points in the nightcap on Saturday night.

PICK: USC -3.5 (-110)

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