(7-5, 5-7 ATS)
(4-7, 3-8 ATS)
Once upon a time, the NCAA football betting battle between the USC Trojans and the UCLA Bruins was one of the best in the nation that had implications on the Rose Bowl each and every year. Now that the Trojans are on probation and the Bruins have won just four games on the campaign though, this one is for pride only on Saturday night, as the season will come to a close for both teams when this one is over with.
The Men of Troy are probably starting what is going to be a very long decade. They already lost five games this year and haven’t felt the effects of losing all of these scholarships yet either. It’s unfortunate for QB Matt Barkley that the rest of his teammates haven’t played as hard as he has this year. Barkley, now a second year sophomore starting quarterback, has thrown for 2,593 yards and 25 TDs with ten picks, but injuries have kept him down and hampered his stats on the season. RB Marc Tyler has 868 yards on the turf this year, while RB Allen Bradford has 582. Still, the offense has only been good for 428.4 yards per game this year, numbers which seem pedestrian by USC standards, and there have been games in which this unit has just totally checked out without making an appearance. Look no further than the last two weeks for proof of that, as the Trojans have been beaten 20-16 and 36-7 by the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Oregon State Beavers respectively.
We have to wonder how much more rope HC Rick Neuheisel has. He has lost two in a row and five of his last six overall, and if you go back to last season, he is just 5-12 in 17 Pac-10 games. The only thing that got the Bruins to a bowl game last year was a favorable schedule, and when that slate evaporated this year and turned significantly harder, they didn’t stand a chance of survival. The offense has averaged just 314.5 yards per game on the campaign, good enough to rank No. 101 in the nation, and though QB Kevin Prince has been hurt for half the season, there really haven’t been any passing threats all season long. The only bright spot this season has been the running of RB Johnathan Franklin, who might be turning himself into a legitimate NFL prospect. In spite of the fact that he has had absolutely no help from anyone else on his offense, Franklin has rushed for 1,018 yards and seven scores, setting the sophomore up for what could be two more big years in LA.
Neither one of these two teams thrill us right now, but there is clearly some more urgency on the sidelines for the Bruins than there is for the Trojans. Though Barkley could single handedly beat us with no one else showing up for the Men of Troy, we’ll take our chances on the Bruins and these six points anyway.
NCAA Football Free Pick: UCLA Bruins +6