On Saturday, November 11, 2017, the No. 17 ranked team in the country, the USC Trojans, travel to Folsom Field to take on the Colorado Buffaloes in this PAC12 showdown. Despite the fact that they have two losses, USC finds themselves in prime position to win the conference title, especially after back to back victories over Arizona State and Arizona over the last two weekends. USC is sure to make the PAC12 title game, giving them a real shot at a Rose Bowl berth.
Colorado needs victories in one of their last two games of the season to become bowl eligible, and may have to wait two weeks when they take on Utah to reach that mark. The Buffaloes have lost four of their last six games, including last weekend when they fell at Arizona State.
Neither of these teams has performed particularly well against the spread this season, as both have gone 3-7. In their last five games against Colorado, USC is 5-0 straight up. The Trojans have not been doing well against the spread overall, going 2-6 in their last eight games and are 1-4 in their last five road games against the spread. In the last 21 games for the Trojans on the road, they have gone under in 14 of those contests but are 6-2 straight up on the road in their last eight.
Colorado is 1-4 in their last five games against the spread and has an identical record in their last five games at home against the spread. They are, however, 11-3 straight up at home over there last 14 and have gone over in four of their last five home games.
While the offense for the Trojans has been quite prolific this season, it has been the play of their defense that has been subpar from what was expected when the season began. USC is giving up an average of nearly 27 points per game, and almost 400 yards of total offense per contest. Those are numbers that fans aren’t used to seeing out of their Trojans defense, and they will have to put up a better effort if they are going to slow down a solid Colorado offense.
The Trojans have a dominating ground game, led by Ronald Jones II, who has gained 1082 yards and 13 touchdowns the season, putting him among the nation’s leaders. Jones has not only proven to be elusive and difficult to bring down, averaging 6.8 yards per carry, but has been the kind of back that is a coach’s dream, carrying the ball 159 times in nine games.
The passing attack is led by Sam Darnold who is thrown for 2869 yards and 22 touchdowns. Darnold has an accurate arm, completing 63.6 percent of his passes, but he will force of all, throwing 11 interceptions in 349 attempts. He will need to be better against Colorado, which has an opportunistic defense that can make big plays.
The Buffaloes are getting solid play from their quarterback, Stephen Montez, who has thrown for 2404 yards and 16 touchdowns. Montez has completed an impressive 62.3 percent of his passes, making him nearly as accurate as Darnold but, like the USC quarterback, he will force balls at times, throwing seven interceptions in 300 attempts. The ability of these two quarterbacks to stay within the game plan and not try to put the ball where it doesn’t belong will be a huge factor in who wins this game.
Colorado has an outstanding running back in Philip Lindsay, who has rushed for 1334 yards and 12 touchdowns this season. This will be an exciting matchup of Lindsay versus Jones to see which back is able to carry his team on his back toward victory.
Trojans vs. Buffaloes Betting Lines
USC is favored by 13.5, which is a lot in a conference game in November, but they are desperate to win these last two games of the season. It’s going to be a question of whether the Trojans defense has the capability of slowing down the Buffaloes offense enough to give their team extra possessions to win a game by two touchdowns or more. It is more likely that the Trojans win by 10, making it the better pick to take Colorado and the points. It should be likely that the total for this game is somewhere around 70.