Experienced QB Makes USC -3.5 The College Football Pick vs. UCLA

Ross Benjamin

Thursday, November 26, 2015 12:54 AM GMT

Thursday, Nov. 26, 2015 12:54 AM GMT

Our analyst breaks down Saturday’s huge Pac-12 rivalry game between UCLA and USC. Join us in reading this very interesting betting preview article that culminates with his college football pick.

Battle of Los Angeles on Saturday in Pac-12
USC (7-4) and UCLA (8-3) will meet in their annual Pac-12 rivalry showdown on Saturday. The opening kickoff at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is slated for 3:30 PM ET. The game will be televised nationally on ABC. According to the current college football odds at Bookmaker, USC is a 3.5 point favorite, and the posted total is 62.0. UCLA has gone 3-0 SU&ATS against USC since Jim Mora became their head coach in 2012.

 

More Than Just a Rivalry Game in 2015
The winner of this game won’t only have bragging rights in Los Angeles for a year, but there’s a spot in the Pac-12 Championship Game on the line for both teams. Whichever team comes out on top will face Stanford for the conference crown.

 

Bruins are Road Warriors
UCLA enters this regular season finale with a stellar 4-1 SU&ATS road record. Their only away game loss came in a 56-35 drubbing at the hands of Stanford. Since that defeat, the Bruins have won four of their last five games, and that includes last week’s extremely important 17-9 victory at Utah. By virtue of last Saturday’s win, UCLA eliminated Utah from contention in the Pac-12 South Division, and put them in position for a win or take all encounter with their most fierce rival this coming Saturday. It’s a huge reprieve after starting 1-2 in conference play.

 

Possible Happy End to an Otherwise Crazy Season
USC began the 2015 season as a legitimate national title contender. That notion quickly dissipated after going 1-3 in a four game stretch. Things went from bad to worse following a Friday night 17-12 loss to Washington as a 16.0 point home favorite on 10/8. Shortly thereafter, Steve Sarkisian was relieved of his head coaching duties, and that decision wasn’t only made due to his team’s on field performance, but may had more to do with his own behavior, and insubordinate conduct away from the gridiron. Well liked assistant coach Clay Helton was assigned the head coaching duties on an interim basis. Helton’s first game in charge resulted in a 41-31 road loss to #6 Notre Dame. USC then proceeded to reel off four wins in a row, before seeing that streak end at Oregon last Saturday. In any event, this tumultuous season for USC can somehow still have a fairly happy ending. If that’s to occur, their defense has to be substantially better than they were against Oregon. The Ducks racked up 578 yards of total offense against them during their lopsided 48-28 defeat.

 

Final Thoughts and Pick
I find this to be a very tough call, and especially so at this early (12/25) juncture. In what should be a closely contested game throughout, I found one underlying factor hard to ignore. There’s a stark contrast in experience pertaining to the two starting quarterbacks in this game. USC quarterback Cody Kessler will be making his final regular season start. This will also be the fifth year senior’s third career start against UCLA. On the flip side of the equation is true freshmen Josh Rosen of UCLA. Rosen has started at quarterback in all eleven UCLA games this season, and has done a more than respectable job. However, in a huge rivalry game, and with so much on the line, the ultimate determining factor may come down to these two quarterbacks. I like the experience of Kessler over a talented but very young Rosen. My early lean goes to USC for one of my college football picks this week.

College Football Picks: Play on USC -3.5 at Bookmaker

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