PAC-12 Conference: Better Coaching Makes Stanford -4.5 Your College Football Pick Over USC

David Lawrence

Tuesday, December 1, 2015 2:25 PM GMT

Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015 2:25 PM GMT

The USC Trojans won a crowded competition for the Pac-12 South Division. They will represent the South in the Pac-12 Championship Game against Stanford. Who's our college football pick?

Momentum
USC has some momentum, but not all the momentum. The Trojans lost to Oregon two weeks ago, but they bounced back and beat archrival UCLA this past Saturday, 40-21. The Trojans benefited from consecutive UCLA turnovers which turned a 21-20 UCLA lead into a 33-20 USC lead late in the third quarter. The Bruins got behind and they panicked. They simply couldn’t put anything together on their next several offensive drives, and USC pulled away for a win which was much more lopsided than many people anticipated. The Trojans’ defense, playing a lot more man to man and a lot less zone under coordinator Justin Wilcox, were able to handle UCLA’s mobile quarterback, Josh Rosen, and the team’s star running back, Paul Perkins. The Trojans hope they can keep the feel-good vibes from that game and carry them into this game in an NFL stadium.

Stanford has a little more momentum. The Cardinal are on a two-game winning streak after beating California and then Notre Dame. The Cardinal’s win over Notre Dame was a close one, though. The Cardinal’s defense gave up an average of nine yards per play. The team had a hard time stopping Notre Dame’s powerful offensive line, which really controlled the game and enabled the Fighting Irish to score a go-ahead touchdown with 30 seconds left. However, Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan drove his team down the field for a winning field goal on the last play of the game, and so Stanford still has an outside shot in the race for a College Football Playoff berth.

 

Line Moves
Stanford is listed as a 4.5-point favorite, and the college football odds are up from the initial four-point line. Bettors know that USC interim coach Clay Helton has been named permanent coach. That move is not seen as a smart one. USC and Helton should be outcoached by Stanford’s David Shaw.

 

Notable Injuries
USC defensive back Leon McQuay III is questionable with a knee injury. Offensive lineman Khaliel Rodgers is questionable with an undisclosed injury. Kicker Alex Wood is questionable with a concussion. Linebacker Cameron Smith is out with a knee injury. Linebacker Lamar Dawson is out for the season with a shoulder injury. Wide receiver Isaac Whitney is out indefinitely with a collarbone injury. Center Max Tuerk is out with a knee injury. Offensive lineman Toa Lobendahn is out with a knee injury.

Stanford has defensive lineman Harrison Phillips listed as out with a knee injury. Fullback Daniel Marx is out for the season with a leg injury. Defensive back Alijah Holder is questionable for this game with an undisclosed condition. So is defensive back Ronnie Harris.

 

Handicapping The Game
The emotion of USC goes up against the better coaching of Stanford. USC will try to win the shootout it lost in late September against the Cardinal. However, Stanford has been playing at home the past few weeks, and this game is not too far from campus. The Cardinal should be able to play well in front of what should be a partisan crowd. Take Stanford with your college football picks.

College Football Pick: Stanford -4.5 at TheGreek

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