Can the Trojans make a big splash in the Pac-12 race in their opener? Will the Cardinal bounce back from the week off and roar? It could be a Pac-12 championship preview – check out the USC vs. Stanford fearless prediction and game preview.
USC (1-1) vs. Stanford (1-0) Game Preview
Date: Saturday, September 17th
Game Time: 8:00 pm
Venue: Stanford Stadium, Stanford, CA
Why USC Will Win
That’s more like it. Utah State’s a good, solid Mountain West team, and USC ripped through its normally sound defense like it was standing still.
Maybe, just maybe, everyone will look awful playing against Alabama.
This is a talented Trojan team that bounced back in a big way from its awful debut, with the passing game efficient and effective, the ground game productive, and the defensive front shutting down the Aggie spread running attack to a dead stop.
Can USC’s defensive front camp out in the backfield? Kansas State was able to do it, and despite the problems against Alabama, and even with the quick-hitting Utah State offense, the Trojans were able to get behind the line. Stanford’s offensive line will eventually be a killer, but if the Kansas State game is any indication, it’s not there yet.
The Stanford offense bogged down finishing with just 272 against the Wildcats despite a strong day from Christian McCaffrey and a 14-of-18 day from QB Ryan Burns. The USC back seven should keep the midrange plays to a stop – don’t expect any big yards after the catch and watch out for a slew of rushed throws, but …
Why Stanford Will Win
McCaffrey is rested.
It’s a new year with two new teams and very different circumstances, but McCaffrey ran for 115 yards the first time around against USC last year and rolled up 207 and a score in the Pac-12 championship.
Stanford’s offense might have sputtered and coughed against Kansas State, but McCaffrey still ran for 126 yards and two scores averaging 5.7 yards per carry. It might not always be pretty, but it’s Stanford – it’ll be effective.
USC’s defense is good, but so is Kansas State’s, with a terrific linebacking corps that knows what it’s doing. No. 5 will get his yards no matter what.
One the flip side, that’s not a sure thing for the Trojan ground game.
The stats will always be lousy against the Alabama and Utah State run defenses, but USC’s line is still supposed to be good enough to provide a push against anyone. It hasn’t happened yet.
So far, the Trojans have rushed for just 242 yards even with a slew of terrific talents to work with. The ground game isn’t going to all of a sudden get healthy against Stanford.
What’s Going To Happen?
The rest is going to matter – to a point.
The world is still off the USC train with the Alabama game still way too fresh, but this is where the talent shines through.
The Trojan pass rush will bother the Stanford backfield, while the rest of the defense will keep Burns from being effective enough to overcome a good performance from a USC receiving corps just waiting to break out and start hitting a few home runs.
USC vs. Stanford Prediction
Final Score: USC 27, Stanford 23
Line: Stanford -8.5, o/u: 53
ATS Confidence: 5: Vegas, Now – 1: Talk To Wife … 2
Must See Rating: 5: Hell or High Water – 1: This Is Us … 4.5