College Football Pick: Minnesota Golden Gophers vs. USC Trojans
NCAA Football Betting Favorite: USC -23
It will be Big Ten vs. Pac 12 in Los Angeles to start out the season on Saturday afternoon. The mighty USC Trojans were definitely down quite a bit last season as they finished 8-5. On the other hand, Minnesota was downright awful. The Golden Gophers went 3-9 and head coach Tim Brewster was fired near the end of the season. Jerry Kill came over from Northern Illinois to try to change the Gophers fortunes. USC isn’t eligible for a bowl berth again this season, but they’ll definitely look to bounce back from last year’s disappointment.
There isn’t a program in the Big Ten in worse shape right now than Minnesota. Tim Brewster came in a few years ago saying he was going to take Minnesota to the top of the conference, but he ended up leaving this program in a mess. Jerry Kill was extremely successful at Northern Illinois, and I think he was a very good hire for the program. It wouldn’t be fair at all to judge him based on this year’s results. Does this team really have any strengths? MarQueis Gray has the potential to be a good quarterback, but he’ll need some time to get readjusted to the position after playing wide receiver last season. Gray was a highly touted recruit at the quarterback spot, and he has the tools necessary to be a good one. The offensive line was very poor last year, and I don’t expect them to be much better this season. The secondary will be the strength of the defense, but the front seven is poor. It will be a long year in Minneapolis.
It sounds strange to say, but it almost seems as if USC is flying under the radar a bit heading into this season. This team is definitely down a notch from where they were, but there are a lot of very good athletes on both sides of the ball at USC. Can this team relish the role of playing spoiler this season? They know they can’t get to a bowl game, but Kiffin and his coaching staff must help this team be fired up for every single game. Matt Barkley is now in his junior year, and I expect a lot out of him this season. Barkley has shown flashes of brilliance in his first couple years, and he appears ready to breakout this year. George Farmer appears ready to be a star on the outside, and Robert Woods showed just how good he can be last year. Monte Kiffin’s defense wasn’t very good last year, but I think they’ll be better this season. The secondary is loaded with the talent, and the front seven has several newcomers who could make an impact right away.
The Golden Gophers don’t even come close to matching the talent that USC puts on the field. It is a lot of points to lay, but I think USC is the play here.
Free Football Pick: USC -23
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