College Football Picks: Back Utah to Upset USC on the Road

David Lawrence

Friday, October 23, 2015 1:12 AM UTC

Friday, Oct. 23, 2015 1:12 AM UTC

The Utah Utes and the USC Trojans play the biggest game in this week of college football on Saturday. Who should we back with our college football picks? 

The Utes have the momentum which comes from winning games. The Utes beat Arizona State in a defense-dominated game last Saturday to stay perfect on the year. However, Utah does not have momentum in terms of offense or special teams. Both units were below average against Arizona State, and they’ll need to be better in this game. The defense, though, has been a rock for the Utes. Head coach Kyle Whittingham is a former defensive coordinator, and he’s getting his defense to fly to the ball while punishing the quarterback. Utah can take advantage of a banged-up USC offensive line.

USC can still score, as shown by a 31-point game in South Bend against Notre Dame on Saturday. However, USC allowed 41 points for a second time this season. The Irish matched the 41 points Stanford scored against the Trojans in September. That’s a crisis for a team with far too much talent to be this mediocre.


Line Moves
The college football odds started with USC as a three-point favorite, but that line has moved up to four points before reaching its current 3.5-point number. The betting public has seen Utah struggle at home the past two weeks in close victories over teams whose offenses did not play that well. Utah should have beaten California by a lot more than six points at home on a night when the Golden Bears threw five interceptions. Utah was blanketing Arizona State’s offense, yet not winning handily because of multiple errors on special teams. Bettors see weakness in Utah, and that’s why USC is maintaining its status as a favorite at home, where Utah can’t rely on its home crowd.


Notable Injuries
Utah tight end Evan Moeai is listed as out for the season with a leg injury. Wide receiver Tim Patrick is questionable with an undisclosed condition. Defensive back Jordan Fogal is out for the season with what is listed as a knee injury. Defensive back Ahmad Christian is out indefinitely with an Achilles injury. Running back Troy McCormick is out for the season with a knee injury. Offensive lineman Lo Falemaka is out indefinitely with a chest injury. Running back Marcel Brooks-Brown is out indefinitely with a chest injury.

USC has defensive tackle Claude Pelon listed as questionable due to a knee injury. Center Max Tuerk is out for the season with a knee injury. Wide receiver Isaac Whitney is out indefinitely with a collarbone injury. Wide receiver Darreus Rogers is questionable with a hamstring injury. Wide receiver Jalen Greene is questionable with an undisclosed condition. Wide receiver Steven Mitchell is questionable with an ankle injury.


Handicapping The Game
The Utes are trying to remain unbeaten and stay in charge of the race for both the Pac-12 South championship and the College Football Playoff. USC is trying to salvage its season under an interim coaching staff after the dismissal of former coach Steve Sarkisian. USC as an underdog at home to Utah? No – the Trojans are favored, even though it feels as though they should be the dog here.

The thing people are missing here is that USC doesn’t receive quality coaching. The Trojans need better leadership, and until they get that, they are not in as good a position to win as Utah is. The Utes will win outright as an underdog, so take them with your college football picks.

College Football Pick: Utah +3.5 at Bovada

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