USC Trojans vs. Stanford Cardinal Preview and Free Picks

USC Trojans
(4-1, 2-3 ATS)

Stanford Cardinal
(4-1, 3-2 ATS)

One of these two teams that got off to nightmarish starts to their Pac-10 campaign are going to end up with two losses when this one is said and done, as the Stanford Cardinal engage in NCAA football wagering warfare with the USC Trojans.

The Trojans might have good memories for the beat down that the Cardinal laid on them last year at home, but one would’ve thought that they would never let the Washington Huskies beat them for a second straight season either. The problem for USC this year is still not the offense. That unit is raking in 471.6 yards per game for the season and ranks No. 14 in the land in total ‘O’. The rushing assault has been fantastic regardless of whether it has been RB Allen Bradford or RB Marc Tyler carrying the rock. The play of QB Matt Barkley has been great as well. Those three have combined for almost 2,000 yards of offense in just five games this year and are clearly forces to be reckoned with. Then there’s the defense, which has now had two absolutely horrifying games this year. This unit ranks No. 100 in the country in total yardage at 418.8 yards per game. The Cardinal have to be licking their chops at how bad this pass defense is as well, ranking No. 117 of the 120 teams in major college football.

Through one quarter of play last week, it looked as though Stanford was going to make its push into the Top 5 in the nation for the first time in the HC Jim Harbaugh era. The Cardinal were ahead 21-3 of the Oregon Ducks… and then the wheels fell off… Stanford was outscored 49-10 from that point forward, including by a 28-0 margin in the second half alone, as it dropped 52-31. QB Andrew Luck and WR Ryan Whalen have to be loving this matchup this weekend. As we already mentioned, the Trojans have had absolutely no protection in their back line this year, and teams are constantly beating them up deep. Luck has thrown for 1,253 yards already this season and has 13 TD passes. Whalen, who has been out since the second week of the season, could be making a big time return against a team that he helped destroy last season. It’s true that RB Toby Gerhart is no longer at Stanford, but we must remember that between Luck and then backup RB Stepfan Taylor, the two rushed for 123 yards against USC.

This is a hefty number for the Cardinal to cover, but we tend to think that they can do the deed in this one. A close game probably ends up going to the Trojans. Stanford is clearly the more likely team to post a blowout, as we know that the wheels could fall off of the USC train at any given second, knowing that there isn’t a bowl game to be going to at the end of the season. Too much offense for the Cardinal for the Trojans to keep up.

College Football Free Pick: Stanford Cardinal -10

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