College Football Picks: Arizona Wildcats vs. USC Trojans

Ross Benjamin

Monday, October 7, 2013 2:37 PM GMT

Monday, Oct. 7, 2013 2:37 PM GMT

The Arizona Wildcats and USC Trojans will tangle on Thursday night at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum with kickoff at 10:30 p.m. ET and the game will be televised on Fox Sports 1.

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According to current college football betting odds, the Trojans are a 5.5-point favorite. Arizona defeated USC last season in Temple 39-36, overcoming a 28-13 deficit in that contest. The last 6 meetings between these two PAC-12 rivals have been decided by 7-points or less.

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Lane Kiffin shown the Door

The USC athletic director Pat Haden didn’t waste any time in making a change at the top following the Trojans' embarrassing 62-41 loss at Arizona St. Lane Kiffin was fired at the Los Angeles airport when the team arrived back home. Kiffin was in his 4th year as the head coach of the Trojans and compiled a 28-15 record. The majority of FBS programs can live with that kind of record but it won’t cut it at USC where the bar is set extremely high. Ed Orgeron was appointed interim head coach for the remainder of the year. Orgeron’s claim to fame was his cameo appearance in the movie “Blind Side” which depicted the early life of current Baltimore Ravens offensive linemen Michael Oher. Orgeron recruited Oher to play football at Mississippi where he was the head coach at the time. Unfortunately for Trojans fans Orgeron has the reputation of being a master recruiter, but less than a stellar head coach.

Put Up or Shut Up for the Trojans

The insider’s word coming out of USC is that to a man the Trojans players weren’t the least bit disappointed by the firing of Lane Kiffin. The old adage in sports is “it’s a lot easier to fire a head coach than it would be to dismiss an entire team”. I see the results of this move having no in-between. The Trojans will either respond in a big way to prove the players weren’t the problem, or they can feel sorry for themselves and continue to have excuses while playing out the string. They enter this contest at 3-2 on the season but are 0-2 in conference play. The defense has been terrific through the first 5-games allowing just 306.8 yards per game which is good for 14th in the country. Contrarily the offense has been disappointing and more specifically the passing game. The Trojans are statistically 104th in the country averaging just 189.8 yards passing per game. Star wide receiver Marqise Lee is listed as questionable with an ankle injury. Lee has had a somewhat disappointing start to the season by his standards. After having 118 receptions and 14 touchdowns a season ago Lee has just 30 catches and 1 touchdown thus far. USC has gone under the total in 4 of their 5-games this season.

Bounce Back for the Wildcats

Arizona jumped out to a 3-0 start to the season before losing at Washington 31-13 in their previous game. Like the Trojans, the Wildcats defense has been their shining star early in the season. Heading into this week the Wildcats are #22 nationally in total defense and #9 in scoring defense. This is a team that leans heavily on the running game on offense. The Wildcats are #10 nationally averaging 291.5 yards per game. The passing game has been horrible averaging just 111.2 yards per contest which ranks among the worst in all of college football. Arizona has gone under the total in 3 of their 4-games this season.

Final Analysis

At the time of this writing, there was no posted total yet on this contest. In my professional opinion, the total is this game should be somewhere between 46.0 and 49.0. With both of these defenses playing very well, and both pass offenses really struggling, my lean goes toward this being a low scoring affair. If the total is somehow posted higher than my above estimate then my lean becomes an even stronger one on the Under. Keep this in mind before making your sports picks in this game.

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NCAA FB Pick: Take the Arizona/USC game to go UNDER the total 

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