[B]STANFORD @ SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA[/B]
Stanford is 8-1 SU in its last 9 games
The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Stanford’s last 8 games
Southern California is 19-2 SU in its last 21 games
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Southern California’s last 6 games
[b]Saturday, December 2[/b]
[B]MASSACHUSETTS @ FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL[/B]
Massachusetts is 5-1 ATS in its last 6 games on the road
Massachusetts is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games
Florida International is 6-1 SU in its last 7 games at home
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Florida International’s last 5 games
[B]LOUISIANA-MONROE @ FLORIDA STATE[/B]
The total has gone OVER in 9 of Louisiana-Monroe’s last 11 games on the road
The total has gone OVER in 16 of Louisiana-Monroe’s last 20 games
Florida State is 19-6 SU in its last 25 games at home
Florida State is 1-4 ATS in its last 5 games at home
[B]NORTH TEXAS @ FLORIDA ATLANTIC[/B]
North Texas is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games
North Texas is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games
Florida Atlantic is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games at home
Florida Atlantic is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games
[B]AKRON @ TOLEDO[/B]
The total has gone UNDER in 8 of Akron’s last 10 games
Akron is 7-2 ATS in its last 9 games
Toledo is 7-1 SU in its last 8 games
Toledo is 6-1 ATS in its last 7 games
[B]MEMPHIS @ CENTRAL FLORIDA[/B]
Memphis is 5-0 ATS in its last 5 games
Memphis is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games
Central Florida is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games when playing Memphis
Central Florida is 5-0 ATS in its last 5 games when playing at home against Memphis
[B]TEXAS CHRISTIAN @ OKLAHOMA[/B]
The total has gone UNDER in 7 of Texas Christian’s last 8 games
Texas Christian is 10-2 SU in its last 12 games
Oklahoma is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games
Oklahoma is 6-1 SU in its last 7 games when playing Texas Christian
[B]GEORGIA SOUTHERN @ COASTAL CAROLINA[/B]
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Georgia Southern’s last 5 games on the road
Georgia Southern is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Coastal Carolina’s last 6 games
Coastal Carolina is 3-7 ATS in its last 10 games
[B]IDAHO @ GEORGIA STATE[/B]
Idaho is 10-1 ATS in its last 11 games on the road
The total has gone UNDER in 7 of Idaho’s last 8 games
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Georgia State’s last 5 games
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Georgia State’s last 5 games at home
[B]LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE @ APPALACHIAN STATE[/B]
Louisiana-Lafayette is 7-3 ATS in its last 10 games on the road
Louisiana-Lafayette is 2-4 SU in its last 6 games on the road
Appalachian State is 9-1 SU in its last 10 games at home
Appalachian State is 16-5 SU in its last 21 games
[B]GEORGIA @ AUBURN[/B]
Georgia is 12-1 SU in its last 13 games
Georgia is 9-3 SU in its last 12 games when playing Auburn
Auburn is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games
The total has gone OVER in 7 of Auburn’s last 9 games
[B]SOUTH ALABAMA @ NEW MEXICO STATE[/B]
The total has gone UNDER in 6 of South Alabama’s last 8 games
South Alabama is 4-8 SU in its last 12 games
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of New Mexico State’s last 5 games at home
The total has gone OVER in 5 of New Mexico State’s last 7 games
[B]TROY @ ARKANSAS STATE[/B]
Troy is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games
Troy is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games on the road
Arkansas State is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games at home
Arkansas State is 5-0 ATS in its last 5 games when playing Troy
[B]FRESNO STATE @ BOISE STATE[/B]
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Fresno State’s last 5 games
Fresno State is 8-1 SU in its last 9 games
Boise State is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games when playing at home against Fresno State
Boise State is 11-1 SU in its last 12 games at home
[B]MIAMI-FL @ CLEMSON[/B]
Miami-FL is 15-1 SU in its last 16 games
The total has gone UNDER in 8 of Miami-FL’s last 9 games
Clemson is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games
Clemson is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games when playing Miami-FL
[B]WISCONSIN @ OHIO STATE[/B]
Wisconsin is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games
Wisconsin is 5-1 ATS in its last 6 games
Ohio State is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games when playing Wisconsin
Ohio State is 9-1 SU in its last 10 games
[SIZE=4][COLOR=”#A52A2A”][B]College football conference championship game rematches: What’s new and what’s not[/B][/COLOR][/SIZE]
[I]Georgia gets a second crack at Auburn in the SEC Championship Game on Saturday afternoon three weeks to the day after it was thumped 40-17 at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Will the Dawgs bark back?[/I]
Conference championship week in college football this year is, to borrow a Yogi Berra line, like déjà vu all over again. Seven of the conference championship games this weekend are rematches of conference games from earlier this season.
Ashton Grewal examines the replays in the power conference title games to try and find out what’s changed for the teams involved since the last meeting, what’s the same, and what bettors should expect in the rematch.
Last game when and where: Week 11 at Auburn
Last game odds: Georgia -2.5, over/under 48
Last game result: Auburn 40 – Georgia 17
Story of the first game: Auburn held Georgia to a season-low 46 rushing yards on 32 carries while it gained 246 yards on the ground itself against one of the best run defenses in the country.
What’s different this time: A neutral field should help Georgia, as should the health of Auburn star running back Kerryon Johnson who hurt his shoulder in the Iron Bowl last weekend. Westgate SuperBook oddsmaker Ed Salmon says Johnson is worth about a half point to the spread. Vegas sees Auburn as the better team this time around.
What’s the same: The playoff stakes for the Tigers. Auburn had to win out in the regular season to have any shot at securing a place in the college football playoff and it will have to beat Georgia a second time to make it inside the top four rankings.
Georgia’s ATS dominance. The Bulldogs went right back to creaming the opposition after their setback against Auburn. UGA went 2-0 ATS after the game against Auburn and finished the season with an 8-4 mark against the spread.
Last game when and where: Week 11 at Oklahoma
Last game odds: Oklahoma -6, 63.5
Last game result: Oklahoma 38 – TCU 20
Story of first game: The Sooners found the end zone in five of their first seven possessions and took a 38-14 lead into halftime. TCU played better in the second half but never got back in the game. Oklahoma ran for 200 yards on the ground against the third best rush defense in the country.
What’s different this time: The game will be played on a neutral field but it’s safe to assume Oklahoma’s fan base will travel better than TCU’s.
OU’s stock has gone up in the betting market while TCU’s has dropped since their first matchup. The books opened with the Sooners giving seven points in the Week 11 showdown and bettors backed the Frogs which brought the spread down to OU -6 by kickoff. This time, oddsmakers installed OU as 6.5-point chalk on a neutral field and the market is bringing the number up to a touchdown spread.
What’s the same: The Sooners’ dominance against Big 12 opposition. Lincoln Riley’s team averaged a 14.3- point differential per game in conference play. TCU’s offense is decent but not in the same league as Oklahoma.
[B]Pac-12 Championship Game
Teams: Southern California Trojans vs. Stanford Cardinal[/B]
Odds: USC -4, over/under: 58.5
Location: Levi’s Stadium – Santa Clara, California (Neutral field)
Last game when and where: Week 2 at USC
Last game odds: USC -3.5, 54.5
Last game result: USC 42 – Stanford 24
Story of the first game: The Trojans converted 10 of their 12 third downs and racked up 307 rushing yards, 28 first downs and 623 total offensive yards. USC’s nine possessions ended in touchdowns (six), interceptions (two) or victory formation kneels (one).
What’s different this time: Stanford made a switch at QB when it elected to bench Keller Chryst for redshirt freshman K.J. Costello in Week 10. The Cardinal’s passing game has been more accurate with Costello under center and he’s coming off a four-TD-toss performance against the Fighting Irish.
The health of Stanford running back Bryce Love is the real question mark in this rematch. He was completely healthy in Week 2 but he’s been struggling with a sore ankle for the past few weeks.
What’s the same: It was a weird year in the Pac-12 and the winner of this game probably has no shot of making the college football playoff. But USC was the preseason favorite to win the conference and Stanford was the third choice behind USC and Washington.
Trojans quarterback Sam Darnold was picked off twice in the first game against Stanford and USC’s turnover problems continued throughout the season. The Trojans averaged 1.8 giveaways per game which puts them in the bottom rung of teams in the country.
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by 2 1/2
South Alabama @ New Mexico St[/B]
December 2, 2017 @ 4:30 pm
New Mexico St
New Mexico St
by 15 1/2
New Mexico St
by 9 1/2
New Mexico St
(-9 1/2); Under
North Texas @ Florida Atlantic[/B]
December 2, 2017 @ 12:00 pm
by 13 1/2
Memphis @ Central Florida[/B]
December 2, 2017 @ 12:00 pm
by 10 1/2
by 5 1/2
by 9 1/2
(+9 1/2); Over
[B]Weekend’s 13 best games
Pac-12 title game, Santa Clara, CA[/B]
USC didn’t have bye week all season, but had last week off, so they should be well-rested here. Stanford played rival Cal/Notre Dame last two weeks; they won last three games- three of their last five games were decided by 3 or less points. USC ran ball for 307 yards in 42-24 home win over Stanford Sept 9, just their 3rd win in last ten games with the Cardinal. Stanford beat USC 41-22 in Pac-12 title game two years ago, which was Trojans’ only appearance in this game. Pac-12 North teams are 6-0 vs Pac-12 South teams in this event, with Stanford 3-0, winning by 3-24-19 points. Stanford is 1-2 vs spread as an underdog this year; USC is 4-7 as a favorite.
Idaho was +6 in turnovers, hammered Georgia State 37-12 at home LY, in teams’ first meeting. This is Vandals’ last I-A football game; they drop down to I-AA next year. Idaho lost its last three games, scoring total of 17 points in last two- they’re 4-1 vs spread as road underdogs this year, losing away games by 9-47-3-7 points, with win at So Alabama. Georgia State won three of its last four games, with wins by 8-4-3 points. Panthers are 1-1-1 vs spread as a favorite this year. Under is 7-1 in last eight Idaho games, 4-1 in State’s last five games.
UL-Lafayette lost three of last five games; they allowed 50-34-34 points in last three. Cajuns are 1-5 when they allow 220+ rushing yards- they’re 2-3-1 as road underdogs this year. Appalachian State won its last two games 27-6/31-10, running ball for 579 yards; ASU won all three of its games vs ULL, winning by 24-21-19 points (2-1 vs spread). Mountaineers are 2-1 as home favorites this season. Last three ULL games went over the total; under is 5-3-1 in last nine ASU games. Sun Belt home favorites are 9-15 vs spread this season.
Georgia Southern won its last two games after an 0-9 start, scoring 86 points; they covered four of last five games. Eagles are favored over a I-A team for first time this season- they’re 0-5 on road this year, with 27-6 loss the closest of the five games. Coastal Carolina is 2-9 in its first year of I-A football, beating Idaho LW after a 9-game losing streak. Chanticleers scored 17 or less points in three of their last four games- they’re 1-3 at home this year, beating UMass in opener. Four of last six Coastal games went over total; over is 7-2 in last nine GSU games.
Arkansas State won its last four games with Troy, scoring 35+ points in all four games. Troy lost its opener at Boise State, then won nine of last 10 games, losing as an 18-point favorite to South Alabama. Trojans won their last four road games, including a SU win at LSU. Arkansas State won six of its last seven games, with only loss to USA; Red Wolves are 3-0 at home, thanks to a home game with Miami being cancelled by the hurricane in September. Three of last four Troy games went over total; four of last five ASU games stayed under.
[B]C-USA title game. Boca Raton[/B]
Florida Atlantic ran ball for 447 yards, passed for 357 more in 69-31 thrashing of North Texas Oct 21, in game that was 41-7 at half- that was FAU’s first win in last five tries vs North Texas, but tams’ previous meeting was in 2014. FAU won its last eight games, seven by 18+ points; they’re 6-2 vs spread in last eight games. North Texas is 5-0 wince the loss at FAU; they’re 4-2 vs spread as an underdog this season. Over is 5-2 in last seven FAU games, 6-3 in Mean Green’s last nine. FAU ran ball for 318+ yards in five of last seven games.
[B]AAC title game, Orlando[/B]
Central Florida ran ball for 350 yards, gained 603 yards and pounded Memphis 40-13 Sept 30; Knights are 10-0 vs Memphis, 2-3 vs spread in last five. Memphis is 7-0 since the UCF loss, 6-1 vs spread- they scored 41+ points in last five games. UCF won wild 49-42 game with USF last week, when Bulls tied game in last 2:00, but UCF ran ensuing kickoff back for GW score. UCF covered only once in its last five games- they’re 3-0 vs spread this year when spread was single digits. Six of last eight UCF games, four of last five Memphis games went over total.
[B]MAC title game, Ford Field, Detroit[/B]
Toledo ran ball for 303 yards, pounded Akron 48-21 at home Oct 21. Rockets covered six of last seven games overall- they won six of last eight games with Zips, beating them 48-17 LY. Toledo is 7-3 vs spread as a favorite this season. Akron won three of last four games since the Toledo loss; Zips are 3-3 vs spread as a double digit underdog this season. Akron was held to 17 or less points in four of its five losses. Under is 9-2 in Akron games this season, 3-1 in last four Toledo games. This is first MAC title game since ’05 for Zips, ’04 for Toledo.
[B]SEC title game, Atlanta[/B]
Auburn beat Georgia 40-17 Nov 11, outgaining Dawgs 488-230, running ball for 237 yards; Tigers are only 3-9 in last 12 games vs Georgia. Auburn won its last five games overall- they won Iron Bowl last week, have to bounce back here with another strong effort. Georgia’s 20-19 win at Notre Dame in September is only game they played all year that was decided by less than 14 points- their loss to Auburn is their only loss this season. Dawgs lost SEC title game in 2011-12; they last won it in 2005. Auburn won its last appearance here, over Missouri in 2013.
[B]Mountain West title game, Boise[/B]
Fresno State (+6.5) upset Boise 28-17 at home last Saturday; Bulldogs won eight of last nine games after losing at Alabama/Washington in September. Fresno won its last four games overall, allowing 14.5 ppg- they’re 5-0 vs spread as an underdog. Boise State had won seven in a row before last week; Broncos are 4-1 vs spread this year in games with single-digit spread. Boise is in Mountain West title game for first time in three years; Fresno won it in 2013, lost it the next year. Under is 7-0-1 in last eight Fresno games, over is 3-2 in last five Boise games.
[B]ACC title game, Charlotte[/B]
Clemson beat Miami 58-0 in teams’ last meeting two years ago; Tigers won ACC title game last two years, 45-37/42-35. Hurricanes are in this game for first time- ‘canes lost at Pitt LW, but still have shot at national playoff. Miami is 4-1 vs spread in games where spread was single digits. Clemson won its last five games since their loss at Syracuse, when QB Bryant got hurt- they covered last three games, Tigers are 3-0 vs spread in games with single-digit spread. Eight of last nine Miami games stayed under total; under is 6-2-1 in last nine Clemson games.
[B]Big 14 title game, Indianapolis[/B]
Unbeaten Wisconsin gets into playoff with upset win here; Badgers held 11 of 12 opponents to 17 or less points- they’re underdog for first time this year. Wisconsin is in Big 14 title game for 5th time in seven years- they lost 59-0 to Ohio State three years, lost 38-31 to Penn State LY. Ohio State won last three games, outscoring foes 131-37; they beat rival Michigan 31-20 LW. Buckeyes haven’t been in Big 14 title game the last two years. Eight of last nine Ohio State games went over total; over is 7-5 in Wisconsin games.
[B]Big 12 title game, Dallas[/B]
Oklahoma (-6) beat TCU 38-20 at home three weeks ago- game was 38-14 at the half. Sooners outgained TCU 533-424. Oklahoma won its last seven games since a 38-31 home loss to Iowa State Oct 7- they covered four of last five games. TCU is 3-2 in its last five games after a 7-0 start, losing to Iowa St/Sooners; Horned Frogs got senior QB Hill back from injury LW- he missed the Texas Tech game two weeks ago. Over is 6-4 in Sooners’ last ten games; seven of last eight TCU games stayed under. This is first Big X title game since 2010; Sooners won five of last seven Big X championship games.
[size=”3″][I][B] Pac-12 Championship betting preview and odds: Stanford vs. USC [/B][/I][/size]
[B]Stanford Cardinal vs. Southern California Trojans (-4, 58.5)[/B]
Stanford will try to defeat USC in the Pac-12 championship game for the second time in three seasons when the No. 15 Cardinal meet the No. 9 Trojans at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., on Friday night. Stanford has won eight of its past nine following a 38-20 victory against No. 17 Notre Dame on Saturday, and USC has won four straight for the second time this season.
These teams met Sept. 9 in Los Angeles and the Trojans played one of their best games of the season, piling up 623 total yards in a 42-24 victory inside the Coliseum. USC quarterback Sam Darnold completed 21-of-26 passes for 316 yards and four touchdowns, and led the Trojans on six touchdown drives of 75 yards or longer. Stanford’s go-to player continues to be running back Bryce Love, who had 160 rushing yards on 17 carries and scored a touchdown in the first meeting, one of 10 games with at least 100 yards rushing this season. USC will see a different quarterback as sophomore K.J. Costello replaced senior Keller Chryst four games ago and is coming off his best performance, throwing for 176 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions against the Fighting Irish.
TV:[/B] 8 p.m. ET, ESPN.
LINE HISTORY:[/B] USC opened as 3.5-point favorites and by Thursday night that number was bet up slightly to -4. The total hit betting boards at 57 and was bumped to 58.5.
54 degrees at kickoff dropping to 49 by game’s end – negligible winds with no chance of precipitation
Stanford – RB Bryce Love (Probable, Ankle), LB Joey Alfieri (Questionable, Shoulder), T Walker Little (Questionable, Undisclosed), LB Curtis Robinson (Doubtful, Undisclosed), DE Eric Cotton (Out, Foot), CB Terrence Alexander (Out Indefinitely, Forearm), CB Alijah Holder (Out For Season, Knee), LB Sean Barton (Out For Season, Knee).
USC – DT Rasheem Green (Probable, Shoulder), TE Tyler Petite (Probable, Shoulder), G Chris Brown (Probable, Shoulder), WR Velus Jones Jr. (Questionable, Ankle), T Andrew Vorhees (Questionable, Back), QB Matt Fink (Questionable, Knee), DE Porter Gustin (Out Indefinitely, Toe), RB James Toland IV (Out Indefinitely, Shoulder), LB Hunter Echols (Out Indefinitely, Hip), DL Jacob Lichtenstein (Out Indefinitely, Back), T Nathan Smith (Out Indefinitely, Knee), DL Jay Tufele (Out Indefinitely, Back), DT Marlon Tuipulotu (Out For Season, Back), S Isaiah Pola-Mao (Out For Season, Shoulder), CB Greg Johnson (Out For Season, Shoulder), CB Keyshawn Young (Out For Season, Hamstring), G Viane Talamaivao (Out For Season, Pectoral), PK Michael Brown (Out For Season, Knee), DB Johathan Lockett (Out For Season, Hip), LB Tayler Katoa (Out For Season, Knee).
ABOUT STANFORD (9-3 SU, 5-6-1 ATS, 4-8 O/U):[/B] The Trojans will have their hands full trying to block senior Harrison Phillips, who leads all FBS defensive tackles with 16.5 tackles for loss, including 6.5 sacks. The Cardinal also have a dependable secondary led by strong safety Justin Reid, the conference’s co-leader in interceptions with five, including one against the Trojans earlier this season. Reid displayed his versatility against Notre Dame, totaling nine tackles (three solo), a sack and a pass breakup.
ABOUT USC (10-2 SU, 3-8-1 ATS, 7-5 O/U):[/B] The Trojans will also have a somewhat different look than the last meeting against Stanford as the leading rusher from that game, Stephen Carr, hasn’t bounced back from a four-game absence in October because of a foot injury. Carr has appeared in two games since his return, but totaled only 12 rushing yards on four carries and caught three passes for 59 yards. Ronald Jones II has flourished as the No. 1 back for USC, especially in the past four games, combining for 674 rushing yards and eight touchdowns in that span.
* Cardinal are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 neutral site games.
* Trojans are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 neutral site games.
* Under is 7-0 in Cardinal last 7 games following a straight up win.
* Over is 5-1 in Trojans last 6 games overall.
CONSENSUS:[/B] The favorite USC Trojans are picking up 66 percent of the spread picks and Over is grabbing 64 percent of the totals wagers.
[B][I]Pac 12 Championship (ESPN, 8:00 p.m. ET)
Stanford vs. USC[/I][/B]
Conference Championship week begins in earnest on Friday night with the Pac-12 title up for grabs, and while everyone will be focused on these games in terms of the CFB playoff and who ends up getting in/out, bettors have to remember that these games are still huge to all the programs involved. Every college football program starts out each new year with two specific goals: Win 6+ games to be Bowl eligible, and win their conference championship. The former has already been accomplished for teams in these games, but the latter is what’s at stake this weekend (along with a potential CFB playoff berth for some) and those stakes simply can’t be taken lightly here.
What’s even more interesting about this weekend is the fact that of the nine Conference Championship games we’ve got, seven of them, including this Pac-12 Title game, are rematches from games played previously this year. It’s not often you get rematches in the same season of a college football season, so to have this many is quite unique.
That many rematches also puts potential “revenge” angles in play for numerous teams, and in the Pac-12’s case, Stanford is looking to avenge a 42-24 drubbing by USC back in early September.
[B]USC (-4); Total set at 58.5
A lot has changed for both teams since that meeting during Week 2 of the season, but oddsmakers appear to believe it’s all worked out in the wash for the most part as the Trojans are laying the same number they were back then. With this game being on a neutral field this time as opposed to USC being at home, the identical number does translate to a -6 or -7 spread if USC was at home once again, as over the course of the entire campaign, it’s not hard to argue that the Trojans were in fact the better team and deserving of laying this number.
However, teams from the Pac-12 South like USC is are winless in the Pac-12 Championship game since it’s inception in 2011. It’s been six straight victories by teams from the North, including in 2015 when this same Stanford program (then ranked #7) beat up on the USC Trojans (then ranked 24th) by a final score of 41-22. Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey was the game’s MVP, and with the Stanford’s new RB superstar Bryce Love being in the Heisman conversation all year, they’d love to see a similar outcome on Friday night. But this is not a side I want any part of going either way as there are both pros and cons working against both teams.
For USC, they’ve got history working against them with the drought Pac-12 South teams are on in this series, although this is also the first time the Pac-12 South representative has actually been ranked higher than their opponent from the North. The revenge angle isn’t in the Trojans favor either, and the fact that it’s been nearly a month since USC played quality competition – which didn’t end well at all with a 49-14 loss @ Notre Dame – has me hesitant to lay the chalk. The Trojans do have extra rest though with their lone bye week of the year coming last week, which is always a plus.
For Stanford, they’ve got history on their side regarding the Pac-12 North’s success in this game, the revenge angle in their favor, and a dominant RB that can break open a game in a hurry. But Bryce Love has been dealing with a high ankle sprain injury for the latter half of the year and his explosiveness is all but gone except for a play or two. A play or two might be all that Stanford needs to claim this contest, but with Love’s nagging injury holding him to a high of 166 rushing yards the past six games – compared to a low of 160 (vs USC) and a high of 301 in his first five games – Stanford might have a tough time on their hands scoring points to keep pace with a USC attack that is clearly the strength of their squad.
Therefore, I’m looking at this total of 58.5 and viewing it as a touch too high given the stakes for this game. Yes, I know these two teams combined for 66 points in the first meeting, but the war of attrition that is the CFB season has claimed numerous significant casualties on both sides limiting each attack in different ways. Given that it’s also a championship game with much higher stakes then the first meeting, I do expect the defenses to show up more than they did in the first meeting. And similar to division rematches in NFL games – the only really comparable scenario in terms of football rematches in the same season – I’m never opposed to flip-flopping the results both ATS and O/U for that return matchup, but like I said, the side doesn’t really interest me for this specific game.
Furthermore, Stanford has been a great ‘under’ bet in Pac-12 play all year with a 1-6 O/U record in their lst seven conference games, and when coming off an outright win this year, the Cardinal are 1-7 O/U as well. Throw in the fact that USC finally had a week off to heal some bumps and bruises after playing for 11 straight weeks and the energy and effectiveness of their defense will get a nice boost. The Trojans are also 0-4 O/U when coming off a bye week the past few years.
So with Stanford wanting to likely play a ball control style of offense with their ground game leading the way, and Love’s ability to break those 60+ yard runs with regularity in doubt because of the ankle injury, I fully expect this clock to be bleeding away for the entirety, and neither side to have too many possessions overall. And contrary to many believe about USC and all the talk about QB Sam Darnold and his NFL stock, the Trojans are actually a team that prefer to use the run heavily when they can because then things open up much more for Darnold in the aerial attack.
This game will likely finish with the winner somewhere in the 20’s for points on the scoreboard, and as long as we don’t get OT and have to sweat out those extra possessions, cashing an ‘under’ ticket appears to be the best way to bet this contest.
[B][I]Pac-12 Championship Preview
November 30, 2017[/I][/B]
Southern California (10-2 straight up, 3-8-1 against the spread) trounced Stanford by a 42-24 count as a 3.5-point home favorite to snap a three-year losing streak to the Cardinal. However, that was back on Sept. 9 in Week 2 of the 2017 campaign.
The rematch will be Friday night at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara on ESPN at 8:00 p.m. Eastern. Santa Clara is in the San Francisco Bay Area, so the Trojans will have to travel all the way up to the California coast. Meanwhile, David Shaw’s team will simply have a short drive to the home of the 49ers. To be clear, though, we only point that out for the travel factor. Bettors shouldn’t expect Stanford to have an advantage in terms of crowd numbers and support.
As of Thursday afternoon, most books had USC installed as a 3.5-point favorite with a total of 58.5 for ‘over/under’ wagers. The Cardinal was +165 on the money line (risk $100 to win $165). For first-half wagers, the Trojans were favored by three points (with a reduced -105 price tag) with a total of 30 (‘under’ -115).
Stanford (9-3 SU, 5-6-1 ATS) has won three consecutive games and eight of its last nine, including last week’s 38-20 win over Notre Dame as a three-point home underdog. The Cardinal has now won outright in all four home underdog situations since David Shaw took over for Jim Harbaugh.
The 58 combined points fell ‘under’ the 58.5 points. The ‘under’ is on a 7-1 run for the Cardinal.
K.J. Costello threw a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown passes to help turn a 20-17 deficit into a convincing victory. First, Costello found his roommate, redshirt freshman tight end Kaden Smith, for a 19-yard scoring strike to give Stanford the lead for good. Next, the RS freshman QB found another TE, Dalton Schultz, on a 12-yard TD pass. Cameron Scarlett rounded out the scoring with a three-yard TD dash with 10:10 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Costello completed 14-of-22 passes for 176 yards and four TDs without an interception. Bryce Love rushed 20 times for 125 yards, while Smith brought down three receptions for 65 yards and the aforementioned TD grab.
Love has enjoyed a sensational season as a junior, filling the shoes of the departed Christian McCaffrey without missing a beat. Love has rushed for 1,848 yards and 16 TDs with an incredible 8.6 yards-per-carry average. He produced those numbers despite missing a 15-14 win at Oregon State due to an ankle injury that had him playing at less than 100 percent for most of November.
Costello became the full-time starter in October and appears to be improving each week. The Santa Margarita Catholic HS product has completed 61.7 percent of his passes for 1,194 yards with a 9/2 touchdown-to-interception ratio. With Love doing his thing, taking care of the ball is the priority for Costello and he’s only been picked twice on 162 pass attempts. He has also rushed for 99 yards and three scores with a 4.7 YPC average.
JJ Arcega-Whiteside has a team-best 41 receptions for 633 yards and six TDs, while Trenton Irwin has 39 catches for 436 yards and two TDs. Smith has 19 receptions for 334 yards and three TDs. The former five-star recruit out of the Dallas area who spurned Alabama for Tight End U has been more of a factor in recent weeks, catching eight balls for 145 yards and two TDs in the past three games.
Stanford is ranked 25th in the nation in scoring defense, giving up 20.7 points per game. As for the offense, it ranks 36th nationally with a 32.3 PPG scoring average.
The defense is led by junior safety Justin Reid, who has a team-best 88 tackles, five interceptions, one sack, 3.5 tackles for loss, four passes broken up and two QB hurries. Junior DT Harrison Phillips has recorded 86 tackles, 6.5 sacks, 9.5 TFL’s, two forced fumbles and six QB hurries.
Unlike Stanford, USC has had two weeks to prepare for this game. However, it didn’t know its opponent until Washington thumped Washington St. by a 41-14 count this past Saturday night. The Trojans have won four in a row since getting clobbered 49-14 at Notre Dame on Oct. 21.
Clay Helton’s team is off a 28-23 non-covering win over UCLA as a 14.5-point home ‘chalk.’ USC never trailed but it never got ahead of the number, either. In fact, the Bruins had a 501-417 advantage in total offense. The 51 combined points fell ‘under’ the 70.5-point total to end a stretch of five consecutive ‘overs’ in USC games.
Sam Darnold completed 17-of-28 passes for 264 yards, but he was intercepted once and didn’t have a TD pass. Darnold did have a rushing score, however. Ronald Jones found paydirt on the ground twice, finishing with 122 rushing yards on 28 attempts. Steven Mitchell had four receptions for 56 yards, while Deontay Burnett brought down four catches for 55 yards.
For the season, Darnold has connected on 63.3 percent of his throws for 3,462 yards with a 24/12 TD-INT ratio. However, Darnold has trimmed down the turnovers since September. He has a 15/4 TD-INT ratio in his team’s past seven games.
Jones has rushed for 1,346 yards and 16 TDs with a 6.3 YPC average. He has 12 catches for 159 yards and one TD. Jones, the junior RB from McKinney, TX, has produced 122 yards or more on the ground in four consecutive games.
Burnett is Darnold’s favorite target, hauling in 73 receptions for 966 yards and nine TDs. Tyler Vaughns has 48 receptions for 664 yards and four TDs, while Mitchell has 39 grabs for 578 yards and four TDs.
USC is ranked 13th in the country in total offense, 18th in passing yards, 36th in rushing yards and 26nd in scoring with a 34.8 points-per-game average. On the flip side, the Trojans are No. 80 in the nation in total defense, No. 104 versus the pass and 60th in scoring ‘D’ (26.2 PPG).
The defense has been without one of its best players, junior DE Porter Gustin, for most of the season and he remains ‘out.’ This unit is led by junior LB Cameron Smith, who has recorded 95 tackles, 0.5 sacks, 8.5 tackles for loss, one interception, one QB hurry and one pass broken up. Sophomore CB Jack Jones has 38 tackles, four interceptions, seven PBU, one forced fumble and one blocked kick.
Stanford will be without starting senior DE Eric Cotton, who has 30 tackles, three sacks, 1.5 TFL’s and two QB hurries. Cotton is dealing with a foot injury. Junior LB Joey Alferi (shoulder) is listed as ‘questionable,’ while sophomore LB Curtis Robinson (undisclosed) is ‘doubtful.’ Alferi has 34 tackles, two sacks, 1.5 TFL’s and a pair of QB hurries. Robinson has produced 23 tackles, one interception, one PBU and 1.5 TFL’s.
USC has been a single-digit favorite four times this year, compiling a 3-1 record both SU and ATS. Meanwhile, Stanford has been an underdog three times, going 2-1 both SU and ATS.
The ‘under’ is 8-4 overall for Stanford, with its games averaging combined scores of 53.0 PPG.
The ‘over’ is 7-5 overall for the Trojans, going 5-1 in their last six outings. They’ve watched their games average combined scores of 61.0 PPG.
[B][I]**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**[/I][/B]
— ESPN reported Thursday that Ole Miss will receive its punishment from the NCAA’s Committee of Infractions on Friday morning. The Rebels are facing 15 Level-1 violations.
— North Texas star RB Jeffrey Wilson is ‘out’ at FAU due to an ankle injury. Wilson had rushed for 1,215 yards and 16 TDs with a 6.5 YPC average in the Mean Green’s first 11 games.
— J.T. Barrett is ‘probable’ and expected to start vs. Wisconsin at the Big Ten Championship Game, but reports on Thursday revealed that the QB had his knee scoped this past Sunday.
— ULM has covered the spread in five straight games as a double-digit underdog. The Warhawks are 27-point ‘dogs Saturday at Florida State.
— I’ll be providing my opinions on Tennessee’s absolutely incompetent AD John Currie in my nuggets at the end of my SEC Championship Game preview.
[B][I]Big 12 Championship Preview
November 30, 2017[/I][/B]
[B]Matchup: Oklahoma vs. Texas Christian
Date: Saturday, Dec. 2
Time/TV: 12:30 p.m. ET – ABC
Venue: AT&T Stadium
Location: Arlington, Tex.
Line, Total: Sooners -7, 63.5[/B]
The Big 12 Championship Game is back for the first time since 2010 when Oklahoma and Nebraska did battle. Moves from Colorado to the Pac-12 and Nebraska to the Big 12 meant the end of the game, with just 10 schools remaining in the conference.
The Oklahoma Sooners (11-1 straight-up, 7-5 against the spread) are back in the title game and ready for a rematch against the Texas Christian Horned Frogs (10-2 straight-up, 7-5 against the spread). These two teams just met on Nov. 11, with the Sooners taking care of business in Norman by a 38-20 score as six-point favorites. OU easily covers, and the ‘under’ (63.5) ended up hitting in that game. The total is the same exactly number for this game despite the change of venue to the faster track on the field turf of AT&T Stadium.
The Sooners have had a wild and crazy ride to get to Arlington. They posted a signature win back on Sept. 9 at Ohio State, taking a 31-16 road win, one of four straight victories out of the chute. They entered play on Oct. 7 coming off a bye as a 31-point favorite against Iowa State. It looked like they were going to roll right along against the Cyclones, but they suffered a 38-31 loss at home in Norman, quite stunning at the time. The loss proved to be less embarrassing that previously thought, as Iowa State was a handful in the conference for the remainder of the season. The loss also served as a wake-up call for head coach Lincoln Riley’s bunch, as the Sooners rattled off seven straight wins since.
The Sooners are making their eighth trip to the Big 12 title game, and their fifth appearance in the past six installments of the game. Oklahoma won 23-20 in the most recent game in 2010, and they are 7-0 SU/ATS in their previous appearances, covering as favorite every single game.
For TCU, they weren’t supposed to be a contender in the Big 12, at least this quickly. The 2017 season was one where they were expected to be in the middle of the pack, but they quickly jelled and fired off to a 7-0 SU start. A 44-31 win at Oklahoma State back on Sept. 23 fast-tracked the Horned Frogs into the national picture, and there was even talk about a potential spot in the College Football Playoff for a few weeks. A win against West Virginia on Oct. 7, and a 26-6 victory at Kansas State on Oct. 14, further bolstered their resume. But like Oklahoma, the Horned Frogs were bitten by the upset machine that is Iowa State, falling 14-7 on Oct. 28 in Ames.
TCU’s biggest strength is their rush defense, ranking No. 2 nationally with just 90.0 yards per game allowed on the ground. They also ranked eighth overall in scoring defense, yielding just 15.7 points per game. In terms of total yards, the Horned Frogs are very stingy, too, giving up just 317.5 yards per outing. If they’re going to be beaten, it’s via the pass game, where they’re a rather middling 73rd in the country giving up 227.5 yards per contest through the air. Unfortunately for TCU, that’s a strenght of Oklahoma.
On offense, the Horned Frogs ranked 47th in total yards (422.1 YPG), while ranking 57th in the country with 238.0 YPG. The Horned Frogs also posted 34.5 PPG to rank 28th in the nation, and their kicking game is one of the better units in the country, too, connecting on 84.6 percent of their attempts to check in 16th in the nation.
It all starts with QB Kenny Hill, an elusive dual-threat option under center. He is more of a pass-first, run-later type quarterback. He completed 66.6 percent of his pass attempts (215-of-323) for 2,604 yards, 19 touchdowns and five interceptions while rushing 78 times for 215 yards and four scores. The senior quarterback from powerhouse Carroll Senior High in Southlake, Tex. just cannot be coaxed into many mistakes. For a guy who handles the ball as much as he does, he just doesn’t put it on the ground or give it away to the opposition through the air.
The running game suffered a big loss when Darius Anderson went down with a season-ending foot injury in the Oklahoma game. He posted 768 rushing yards and eight touchdowns on 128 attempts (6.0 yards per carry), serving as the hammer in the run game, and he still leads the team in rushing even after missing several games. Anderson wasn’t much of a threat to catch the ball out of the backfield, but No. 2 leading rusher Kyle Hicks certainly can be. Hicks rolled for 565 yards and four touchdowns on 4.5 yards per tote, but he also hauled in 17 passes for 208 and a score. Sewo Olonilua stepped up near the end of the season to give head coach Gary Patterson another option down the stretch, posting 100 rushing yards and a touchdown on 13 carries in the final two games.
In the pass game there were four receivers with 26 or more receptions. WR John Diarse led the team with 477 yards and 17.0 yards per reception, while WR Desmon White posted a team-high 33 catches while finding the end zone four times. Freshman WR Jaelen Raeger led the squad with six touchdown receptions, while WR KaVontae Turpin is an athletewho posted 32 grabs, 343 yards and a touchdown while also throwing a touchdown pass and running for two others. If there is a trick play, you can be sure Turpin will be in the middle of the plan.
On the Oklahoma side, QB Baker Mayfield is in the driver’s seat for the Heisman Trophy. He drew attention to himself this season for his antics on the sideline, exuberance and overall solid play. He also drew attention for negative reasons in the Kansas game, after Jayhawks players refused to shake his hand. During the game, he made obscene gestures while yelling expletives at their sideline, and it cost him a start in the regular-season finale and a spot as captain on Senior Day. It’s all water under the bridge now, though, and he’ll likely be highly motivated heading into this one.
Mayfield completed 71.4 percent of his passes in a dream season, throwing for 4,097 yards, 37 touchdowns and five interceptions while running 79 times for 245 yards and five touchdowns. He has posted big numbers against the best of them, and he threw for 333 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions in the Nov. 11 win against TCU. He also threw for 598 yards and five touchdowns in the Nov. 4 rivalry game against Oklahoma State. He has passed for three or more touchdowns in each of his past five outings, and at least two touchdown passes in all 12 games this season.
WR Marquise Brown was on the end of many of Mayfield’s passes, posting a season best 894 yards and five touchdowns with a team-best 19.4 yards per reception. TE Mark Andrews had the most receptions (51), and he was second on the team behind WR CeeDee Lamb in touchdown catches. Lamb led the team with seven scoring grabs, while Andrews made it into the end zone on six occasions. Seven receivers posted at least three touchdowns, so Mayfield likes to spread it around.
RB Rodney Anderson was good for a team-best 867 yards and 11 rushing touchdowns. He and backup RB Trey Sermon were a nice one-two punch on the ground, totaling over 1,500 total rushing yards. While Mayfield garners all of the attention, the Sooners would be nowhere without their powerful run game. The Sooners were second in the nation in passing (377.8 yards per game), but they ranked a respectable 28th in the nation in rushing yards (215.8 per game). The big-time passing game and strong rushing performances helped the Sooners rank fourth in the nation in scoring (45.2 PPG).
Betting Trends to Watch[/B]
— The Horned Frogs have covered just two of their past 10 neutral-site games, and they’re 2-5 ATS in their past seven games played in the month of December. They’re also just 4-9 ATS in their past 13 games following a straight-up victory, and 1-6 ATS in their past seven outings after a straight-up win of more than 20 points. However, they’re also 5-0 ATS in their past five following an ATS loss while going 4-0 ATS in their past four appearances on a field turf surface.
— The Sooners have been red hot against the number lately, going 4-1 ATS in their past five games overall, and 4-1 ATS in their past five against conference foes. They’re also 16-5 ATS in their past 21 games against teams with an overall winning record. As mentioned, they’re also 7-0 SU/ATS all-time in the Big 12 title game, but just 1-7 ATS in their past eight games played on a neutral site.
— The ‘under’ has been the dominant trend for the Horned Frogs lately, going 7-1 in their past eight games overall. The under is also 4-0 in TCU’s past four against teams iwth an overall winning record, 5-1 in their past six following a straight-up win and 7-2 in their past nine on a field turf surface. The under is also 19-7 in their past 26 against conference foes.
— The ‘under’ has been a frequent play for OU lately, too. The under is 6-1 in their past seven neutral-site games while going 14-3-1 in their past 18 games in the month of December. The under is also 6-2 in their past eight against teams with a winning overall record, although the ‘over’ is an impressive 24-10-1 in their past 35 on a field turf surface.
— In this series the under has connected in six of the past eight meetings, including the matchup just a few weeks ago in Norman.
[B][I]Big 10 Championship Preview
November 30, 2017[/I][/B]
[B]Ohio State (-6) vs Wisconsin – (FOX, 8:00 PM ET)
Lucas Oil Stadium – Indianapolis, Indiana
Ohio State – A struggling Michigan offense with serious problems at QB gave OSU all they could handle last Saturday. John O’Korn got the start under center for the Wolverines as recent starter Brandon Peters was out with a head injury. Despite O’Korn completing barely over 50% of his passes in the game and missing a number of open receivers, Michigan jumped out to a 14-0 lead and the Buckeyes didn’t take their first lead until 1:34 remaining in the third quarter.
Ohio State’s final touchdown of the game came with just 1:44 remaining and gave them the 31-20 win. Neither team was overly impressive on offense as OSU had 350 yards and Michigan had 295. The 350 yards of offense for the Bucks was tied for their lowest output of the entire season as Oklahoma also held this team to same yard total. OSU was forced to punt 6 times which may not seem like a big deal, however it was only the second time all season they punted more than 4 times in a game.
One of the keys to this potent offense is obviously QB JT Barrett. He left last week’s game in the fourth quarter with a knee injury and while he says he will play in this one, it’s something we’ll have to keep a close eye on all week long. At the time in which Barrett exited with 5:00 minutes remaining in the third quarter he had only completed 3 passes in the game.
His back up, Dwayne Haskins, came in and played quite well completing 6 of 7 passes for nearly 100 yards and he also ran for 24 yards on 3 carries. If Haskins is pushed into a starting role here, he has been picked up some much needed experience this year and been impressive completing 40 of his 57 pass attempts for 4 TD’s and just 1 interception.
Wisconsin – Many continue to doubt the Badgers due to their schedule, but the fact is they just keep beating who stands in front of them and doing it rather easily. Last week they rolled over Minnesota 31-0 holding the Gophers to just 133 total yards on 48 plays (2.7 YPP). Minnesota had only 46 yards in the first half and didn’t pick up their initial first down until just 41 seconds remaining until halftime. The Badgers held Minny to just THREE pass completions the entire game!
With that effort, the Badger defense has moved to #1 nationally in total defense allowing just 237 YPG. That’s a full 20 yards better than second place Alabama. They are allowing opponents to gain only 4.0 YPP (least in the nation) and this defense has allowed only 12 offensive TD’s in their 12 games this season.
Now the Big Ten has not been an “offensive” conference this year with only 3 teams ranked in the top 50 nationally in total offense (OSU, PSU, and Wisconsin) so we’ll find out just how good this defense is on Saturday when they face, by far, the best offense they’ve seen this season (OSU ranked 4th nationally in total offense).
Last week, Wisconsin was very good offensively as well tallying 456 yards including 287 on the ground. QB Alex Hornibrook was extremely efficient with just 4 incompletions in his 19 pass attempts. It was a game many though UW might struggle with coming off a huge Michigan win but they dominated from start to finish.
The Badgers will bring their “A” game here. They blew a big lead in last year’s Big Ten Championship game eventually losing a close game to PSU and were embarrassed by OSU in 2014 in this game 59-0. Will their top effort be enough if OSU brings their best as well is the million dollar question.
These two had 6 common opponents this season (Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Indiana, and Nebraska). We broke down the results of each team in those games only and here is how the numbers worked out:
Ohio State was 5-1 vs those 6 opponents (3-3 ATS). The Buckeyes scored 274 points in those games for an average of 45.6 PPG. The Buckeye defense allowed 138 points in those games for an opponent average of 23 PPG. The OSU offense gained 3,077 total yards on 473 offensive plays in those games. That’s an average of 512 YPG on 6.5 yards per play.
The Buckeye defense allowed 1,783 total yards on 385 plays vs those 6 opponents. That’s an average of 297 YPG allowed on 4.6 yards per play. Thus, OSU vs common opponents was +22 PPG, +215 YPG, and +1.9 YPP.
Wisconsin was 6-0 vs those 6 common opponents (5-1 ATS). The Badgers scored 207 points in those games for an average of 34.5 PPG. The UW defense allowed 81 points in those games for an opponent average of 13.5 PPG. The Wisconsin offense gained 2,323 total yards on 395 plays in those games. That’s an average of 387 YPG on 5.9 yards per play.
The Badger defense allowed 1.501 total yards on 377 plays vs those 6 opponents. That’s an average of 250 YPG allowed on 3.9 yards per play. Thus, Wisconsin vs common opponents was +21 PPG, +187 YPG, and +2.0 YPP.
[B]Inside the Numbers
This will be Wisconsin’s 5th appearance in the seven-year history of the Big Ten Championship game. The Badgers are 2-2 SU and 1-3 ATS in this game. They were favored in 3 of those 4 games and the only other time (besides this year) Wisconsin was an underdog was in 2012. They were +3 vs Nebraska that year and won the game outright 70-31.
Surprisingly, OSU has appeared in just 2 of the 6 Big Ten Championships thus far. They are 1-1 SU & ATS in those games with their one win coming in 2014 vs this Badger team 59-0! The Buckeyes have won 8 of the last 9 meetings with Wisconsin outright.
The underdog has covered 12 of the last 16 in this Big Ten battle. This is the first time the Badgers have been an underdog this season. They are 14-5 ATS overall in that role vs all opponents dating back to 2009. OSU is 19-10 ATS overall as a favorite of a TD or less dating back to the 2005 season.
BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIP (2011-2016)
Year Matchup Line (Total) Score ATS Result[/B]
2016 Penn State-Wisconsin Wisconsin -3 (45) Penn State 38-31 Underdog-Over
2015 Iowa-Michigan State Michigan State -3.5 (52.5) Michigan State 16-13 Underdog-Under
2014 Wisconsin-Ohio State Wisconsin -4 (54) Ohio State 59-0 Underdog-Over
2013 Michigan State-Ohio State Ohio State -5.5 (53.5) Michigan State 34-24 Underdog-Over
2012 Wisconsin-Nebraska Nebraska -2.5 (48) Wisconsin 70-31 Underdog-Over
2011 Wisconsin-Michigan State Wisconsin -9.5 (56) Wisconsin 42-39 Underdog-Over
[B][I]No. 11 USC beats No. 14 Stanford 31-28 for Pac-12 title
December 1, 2017[/I][/B]
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) Sam Darnold threw for 325 yards and two touchdowns and engineered a back-breaking 99-yard drive following a goal-line stand in the fourth quarter to lead No. 11 Southern California to a 31-28 victory over No. 14 Stanford in the Pac-12 championship game on Friday night.
”It was time to dig deep and win a championship,” coach Clay Helton said. ”When you’re trying to win one, those are the plays that are going to define you and define your football team.”
Darnold threw touchdown passes to Michael Pittman Jr. and Tyler Vaughns to stake the Trojans (11-2, No. 10 CFP) to the lead. He then delivered one of the biggest plays of the game when he stepped up to avoid pressure in the end zone before connecting on a 54-yard pass to Pittman to spark the key touchdown drive in the fourth.
Ronald Jones finished that drive with an 8-yard run that made it 31-21 to cap a productive night where he ran for 140 yards and two touchdowns to give USC its first Pac-12 title since 2008.
The long drive came after USC stuffed Stanford (9-4, No. 12) at the goal line to preserve the lead. With Bryce Love nursing an injured ankle on the sideline, Cameron Scarlett was stopped on successive runs from inside the 2, including a fourth-down try from the 1 that was stopped by Uchenna Nwosu.
”We told our guys to hunker down and this is what Trojan football is,” Nwosu said. ”We were able to make a play.”
Stanford coach David Shaw had no regrets about his decision even though the Cardinal were unable to get the touchdown on offense or the stop on defense to make it pay off.
”The bottom line is we had opportunities and we didn’t make enough plays,” Shaw said. ”We made enough plays to keep it close but not enough plays to win. The sequence of fourth-and-1 to take the lead in the Pac-12 championship game, there’s no hesitation at all. That’s what we’re going to do.”
Darnold sealed the game with a 15-yard pass to Josh Falo on fourth-and-2 to let USC run out the clock.
The win gives USC a season sweep against Stanford and will likely send the Trojans to the Fiesta Bowl. USC still holds out hope for a spot in the four-team playoff if there are several upsets in other conference title games on Saturday but the chances appear to be remote.
STANFORD: Love ran for 125 yards and had his FBS-record 12th run of at least 50 yards that set up K.J. Costello’s 11-yard TD pass to Kaden Smith that cut USC’s lead to 24-21 late in the third quarter. Costello added a 28-yard TD pass to Smith with 2:09 remaining but wasn’t nearly consistent enough to keep pace with Darnold. Costello finished 10 for 22 for 192 yards.
USC: The Trojans had a balanced offensive performance with Pittman catching seven passes for 146 yards and Jones doing solid work on the ground. The defense came up with the big stop at the goal line. But it probably won’t be enough to overcome the earlier losses at Washington State and Notre Dame to lift the Trojans into the playoff even if they get help Saturday.
Both teams will get their bowl bids on Sunday with USC likely headed to the Fiesta Bowl and Stanford expected to go to the Holiday Bowl.