The USC Trojans head to Boulder fresh off a beating of the Arizona Wildcats in Southern Cal by a score of 41-14. Arizona were no match for USC, as the Trojans put the game away in the first-half with a 17-point lead at the half. They added to Khalil Tate’s frustrations with Tate getting benched for Grant Gunnell.
This was supposed to be a season to put last seasons frustrations in the past and to prove to NFL scouts that he can compete at the next level. That hasn’t been the case and he’s going to have a really hard shot at attracting NFL suitors. He might get a tryout as a wide receiver, but don’t bank on Tate getting a look as a quarterback.
Credit the USC defense for neutralizing Arizona. By the time the Wildcats had their offense going, USC was going to a prevent defense and weren’t concerned with the score. The Trojans need all of the wins they can down the stretch to save Clay Helton’s head coaching job. With three losses on his resume already, there isn’t much room for error now.
Having said that, USC have the tiebreaker over Utah in the Pac-12 South. They’re both 3-1 in conference play, so Helton could still get his team to the conference championship with an average year. It isn’t the most competitive division, with Utah and USC the only contenders. Arizona State are improving, but I think they are a year off from competing for a trip to the Pac-12 Championship.
Colorado are hoping for traction at home high up in the altitude. It’s been a major struggle for them, as they’ve lost in blowouts by scores of 45-3 and 41-10 the last two weeks against Oregon and Washington State. Their last win was on September 21st in an impressive showing against Arizona State on the road.
They made it a competitive game against Arizona following that effort, but had to settle for a 35-30 loss. Since then there has been no effort for the Buffaloes. We’ll see if they can catch USC napping on the road and spring the upset on Friday night. Head below for our free USC vs. Colorado pick.
USC Trojans vs. Colorado Buffaloes NCAAF Week 9 Betting Odds:
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USC vs. Colorado Pick:
USC will be searching for their first road win on Friday night in Boulder against the Buffaloes. They’ve been woeful on the road with a record of 0-3. One of those losses included a pretty sizable upset against the BYU Cougars just over a month ago. USC went to overtime with BYU and were dispatched by a score of 30-27. The game ended on an interception off a tipped ball to hand the Trojans a tough pill to swallow. They struggled against Washington and Notre Dame on the road as well. It was a good effort to keep it a competitive game against the Fighting Irish, though.
The Trojans blasted Arizona last week, but it came at a major cost to their starting roster. Going into Arizona, the Trojans were forced to start five new defensive starters because of injuries. The problem got even worse during the game, as USC lost their two best defensive players against the Wildcats. Safety Talanoa Hufanga had to leave and was later spotted with his arm in a sling. Hufanga, who broke his collarbone last season, dislocated his shoulder and will be out for at least two weeks.
Helton also had to watch one of his top pass rushers leave the game after defensive end Drake Jackson had to leave the field as well. Jackson has been ruled out against Colorado in Boulder. Linebacker Abdul Malik-McClain also left the game in the 3rd quarter with a shoulder injury. There were injuries on the offensive side of the ball as well, with running backs Stephen Carr and Markese Stepp coming out of the contest.
They likely don’t need everyone healthy to beat Colorado in this spot, but on a short week and having to go on the road could certainly hurt. The altitude in Boulder doesn’t favor USC in this matchup, though they’re still going to have the more talented team. Steven Montez has been inconsistent at quarterback for Colorado. He can show up one week and disappear the next.
The Buffaloes tend to show up to play USC hard despite the talent disadvantage. In their previous four meetings, the Trojans haven’t beaten Colorado by more than two touchdowns. The absence of Hufanga at safety could hurt in defending Laviska Shenault Jr. He has the talent to put a big game together at home on Friday night.
With injuries piling up for USC and having to go to Boulder on a short week, this has the makings of a trap game for the Trojans. Don’t expect their heads to be totally in this game, while Colorado are likely going to treat this like a big game. That should be enough to keep Colorado hanging around to cover 14 points at home Friday night.