USC vs. California Fearless Prediction & Game Preview
Check out the USC vs. California fearless prediction and game preview.
USC (3-0) vs. California (3-0) Game Preview
Broadcast, TV, Game Time
Date: Saturday, Sept. 23rd
Game Time: 3:30 pm ET
Venue: Memorial Stadium, Berkeley, CA
Purdue is getting its shot at the big-time when Michigan comes to West Lafayette.
Vanderbilt gets to belly up to the SEC prove-it bar when Alabama hits town.
But USC going to Cal might be a wee bit different.
After so many years of mediocrity, all of a sudden, Cal is starting to look the part under new head coach Justin Wilcox. The Bears are starting to play a little defense and the offense has been clutch and tough in the two wins against Power Five conferences.
The Bears stunned North Carolina on the road to start the season, and locked down against Ole Miss last week.
And now, the program gets its shot to take down the big guy in a game that means more on a national scale. Now Cal gets a chance to become a lead dog in the Pac-12 race.
The Trojans are battle-tested after the double-overtime win over Texas last week, but that might have been a warning sign.
Is this the team that was so great against Stanford, or is it the one that was sluggish against Western Michigan, or is it the one that got outplayed by the Longhorns in so many ways?
It’s the first road game of the season for USC, and it needs to be ready for another fight.
One Reason Why USC Will Win
The Bears are doing a whole lot of bending, but without a whole lot of breaking.
Yes, the defense has been tougher. Yes, the coaching staff has done wonders with the run defense. Yes, the D as a whole is finding ways to come through in the clutch. And yes, the secondary is getting burnt to a crisp.
Weber State cranked out 431 yards through the air in the loss, and last week, Shea Patterson of the Rebels threw for 363 yards and two touchdowns in the Cal win.
North Carolina and Ole Miss have playmakers, but they’re nothing like what USC is bringing to Berkeley.
The Bear defense really has been better, but Sam Darnold is a mortal lock to throw for well over 300 yards. However …
One Reason Why Cal Will Win
It also might be a mortal lock that Darnold turns the ball over at least twice.
The pick six against Texas wasn’t Darnold’s fault, but he’s not above throwing interceptions, giving away two in five of his last seven games going back to last season.
The Bears have attacked in the secondary, coming up with three key picks against Patterson and being helped by the terrific pass rush to force errors in the other two games, too.
To have any shot against the more talented Trojans, Cal needs to be at least a +2 in turnover margin. It’ll at least get the two.
What’s Going To Happen
Cal is having a great season and it has the makeup to hang around in a game like this if USC is sloppy and inconsistent. But the Bears have problems with turnovers, too.
Give this one up to the USC running game that’ll take the pressure off of Darnold. The line that was so good and so tough against Stanford will blast away on a Bear defensive front that hasn’t been tested yet, while Darnold will overcome his typical mistakes with enough big plays in key spots to prevent the upset bid.
It’ll be a fight for about 50 minutes, and then the game will open up as USC pulls away late.
USC vs. Cal Prediction
USC 37, Cal 20
USC -16.5, o/u: 64.5
5: Kareem Hunt – 1: Ezekiel Elliott … 2.5
Must See Rating
5: The Vietnam War – 1: Young Sheldon … 3.5