NCAA Football Betting Favorite: USC -16.5
Syracuse and USC both enter this game at 2-0, but both teams have had plenty of scares already this year. The Trojans aren’t the team they were a couple of years ago, but Lane Kiffin is working to take this team back toward the top of the PAC 12. Syracuse has been a resurgent team under Doug Marrone. The team is looking for a signature win to get back on the map. Can they topple USC in the Rose Bowl or is that too much to ask?
Syracuse appeared beaten by Wake Forest in their opening game, but the Orange came back to win 36-29 in a dramatic overtime victory. Last week Syracuse was favored by 26.5 against Rhode Island, but the Orange needed a fourth quarter touchdown to get a 21-14 win over the Rams. The Orange play in a very weak Big East conference, but they’ll need to tie up some loose ends if they wish to compete with the best the rest of this season.
Ryan Nassib has gotten off to a great start to his senior year at the quarterback spot for Syracuse. Delone Carter was the team’s leading rusher last year, and they are struggling to replace him. In the past couple years, Syracuse typically ran the football well, but right now they are struggling against inferior competition. Antwon Bailey is the leading rusher for this team, but I expect them to struggle running it against the USC front line. Defensively, Syracuse lost a lot of top talent after last season. The defensive line is strong, but the back seven is inexperienced.
USC is fighting to get back to the top, but so far this year the Trojans have been playing some sloppy football. Minnesota is probably the worst team in the Big Ten, and they nearly beat the Trojans in week one. Utah had a game tying field goal blocked by the Trojans last weekend. Kiffin’s team has plenty of talent, but they need to start executing.
Matt Barkley was one of the best quarterbacks in the country in high school, and he is definitely developing nicely in his junior year at USC. Barkley is completing 70% of his passes, and he has thrown for 568 yards in two games. Robert Woods is quickly getting noticed for his amazing ability on the outside. Woods has 25 catches in just two games, and he has found the end zone three times. The Trojans haven’t had much of a running game this year. They’ll need Marc Tyler or D.J. Morgan to step up as the season moves along. The USC defense is allowing just 15.5 points per game. Monte Kiffin has this group playing pretty well right now.
Syracuse has struggled quite a bit in two home games against poor opponents. USC hasn’t put it together yet, but I believe they’ll be much better this week. Syracuse doesn’t have the offensive firepower to keep up with USC.
Free College Football Pick: USC -16.5
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