USC Trojans vs. Minnesota Golden Gophers Preview and Picks

USC Trojans
(2-0, 0-2 ATS)

Minnesota Golden Gophers
(1-1, 1-1 ATS)


A pair of struggling teams try to make some headway on the 2010 college football betting season for the first time, as the USC Trojans square off with the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Mall of America Field.

The Men of Troy have been a bit of a disgrace this year in spite of the fact that they are 2-0 on the season. They gave up nearly 600 yards of offense to the Hawaii Warriors in Week 1 and were nearly defeated by one of the worst teams in a BCS conference in the Virginia Cavaliers in the home opener last week. The only man of any real note so far this season is QB Matt Barkley. Barkley is probably going to stick around on the Heisman watch list for as long as he stays on a winning team in spite of the fact that USC isn’t going to be bowling this year. Barkley has a high completion percentage at 65.5 percent, and he has thrown for 459 yards with seven TDs against no picks. USC has won three straight dating back to last year, but none of these wins have been overly impressive. The need for a big romp is absolutely huge for HC Lane Kiffin in his third game in So Cal.

For the Golden Gophers, a 41-38 loss against the South Dakota Coyotes was a low for all lows for a program that is on the decline in a huge way. QB Adam Weber just doesn’t have the goods to lead a BCS school, and save RB Duane Bennett, there really aren’t a lot of high caliber athletes on this offense. Dating back to last year, Minnesota is only 3-6 SU and 4-5 ATS and hasn’t won a road game of any note (we’re discounting the 24-17 win at MTSU earlier this year) since going to Northwestern last September. This is a defense that has been a wreck against two miserable offensive teams, which makes us wonder what the Trojans might be able to do if they put their minds to it. The Gophers are allowing 262.0 yards per game through the air, which is just 97th in the nation. They’re also giving up 29.0 points per game, which is 89th in the land and inexcusable for facing a Sun Belt team and an FCS program.

We really hate both of these teams right now, but we have to go with the Trojans. We know that the talent level between these teams just isn’t even close. Minnesota was destroyed last year by the Cal Golden Bears at home, and we tend to think that this is going to be the same type of result on Saturday against a significantly more gifted and athletic USC team. If the Men of Troy want to, they’ll win this game by at least four TDs.

Selection: USC Trojans -11.5

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