Trojans Will Continue to Dominate in Cali, Make USC -5.5 the College Football Pick

Matthew Jordan

Tuesday, October 27, 2015 3:58 PM UTC

Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2015 3:58 PM UTC

Both USC & California have two losses in Pac-12 play so the loser of Saturday's game probably has no shot at the conference championship game. Check our college football pick inside. 

Trojans Get Helton First 2015 Win
I don't think there's any chance that interim coach Clay Helton gets the full-time USC job, but his team sure played well for him this past Saturday as Southern Cal (4-3, 2-2) thumped unbeaten and then-No. 3 Utah 42-24. Freshman linebacker Cameron Smith was the star of the game with three interceptions; he returned the second one 54 yards for a touchdown. The last Trojan with three interceptions in a game was Jason Oliver vs. Penn State in 1991.

Cody Kessler completed 21-for-28 for 264 yards and a touchdown. Star receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster had eight catches for 143 yards and a touchdown. Smith-Schuster, the Pac-12's leading receiver, has reached 100 yards in five of his past six games. USC had four different players record a rushing touchdown (Ronald Jones, Justin Davis, Soma Vainuku and Kessler) for the first time since Sept. 5, 2009, vs. San Jose State. USC scored first in the game and has in every game this year. USC’s 42 points were the most points Utah has surrendered this year (previous high was 24, USC had 28 at the half). It was USC’s most points in the series since its first win vs. Utah, 51-0 in 1917.

USC entered the game with five projected starters out due to injuries in receivers Darreus Rogers and Steven Mitchell Jr., running back Tre Madden, left tackle Chad Wheeler and safety John Plattenburg. The Trojans two others in the first half to injury in center Toa Lobendahn and tight end Taylor McNamara.

That USC win certainly put the Pac-12 South more up for grabs. Utah (6-1, 3-1) leads the Trojans, UCLA and Arizona State by a game. Obviously Southern Cal would hold a head-to-head tiebreaker over the Utes. The Trojans also beat Arizona State. After this game, USC finishes vs. Arizona, at Colorado, at Oregon and vs. UCLA. Certainly possible to run the table. Utah finishes vs. Oregon State, at Washington, at Arizona, vs. UCLA and vs. Colorado.

Southern Cal is 4-3 against the spread on college football odds and 4-3 'over/under.'


Bears On Two-Game Slide
California (5-2, 2-2) is two games back of Stanford (6-1, 5-0) in the loss column in the Pac-12 North. The Bears have a really tough schedule the rest of the way, too. After USC, Cal goes to Oregon, hosts Oregon State, is at Stanford and hosts Arizona State.

The Bears are led by quarterback Jared Goff, who is likely to be the first quarterback chosen in the 2016 NFL Draft if Goff leaves school early as expected. The junior really struggled a few weeks ago in a loss at Utah as he threw five picks. Goff was better this past Saturday in completing 32-for-53 for 295 yards and three touchdowns, but the Bears lost again, 40-24 to UCLA. Goff, whose attempts and completions were season highs, was sacked five times and the Cal defense surrendered 537 yards. Goff, who already holds school records for career TD passes (73) and yards (9,746), was outplayed by UCLA freshman QB Josh Rosen.

Cal's next win would clinch bowl eligibility for the first time for the school since 2011. It is 4-3 ATS on college football picks and 2-5 O/U.


Last Meeting
USC hosted Cal on a November Thursday night last season and the Trojans won 38-30, their 11th consecutive win in the series. Kessler was very good, going 31-for-42 for 371 yards with four touchdowns. Nelson Agholor had the game of his college career -- he's now with the Philadelphia Eagles -- by catching  16 passes for 216 yards and two scores. Goff was also good for Cal, completing 29-for-46 for 279 yards and three scores. The teams combined for 25 penalties for 276 yards. Each had one turnover. USC has played California 101 times, the most of any Trojans opponent. USC has not lost to Cal since 2003, dating back to a triple overtime defeat in Berkeley; the Bears have averaged just 14 points per game in the losing streak.


Final Analysis
Give the points. Cal is 6-18 ATS in its past 24 at home. USC is 5-0 ATS in its past five at Cal.  

College Football Pick: USC -5.5 at Bet365

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