USC vs. Stanford fearless prediction and game preview.
Date: Saturday, September 8
Game Time: 8:30 ET
Venue: Stanford Stadium, Stanford, CA
USC (1-0) vs. Stanford (1-0) Game Preview
With so many improved teams in the North, and with several teams hoping for a big change in the South, this might not be a preview of the Pac-12 Championship, but it won’t be that far off.
USC caught the Cardinal twice last season, but won the previous three games before that. Now, with both teams having to deal with so many big battles ahead, a loss would be devastating to College Football Playoff hopes, but it would hardly be a deathblow to get back to the Pac-12 title game.
Can Bryce Love go off and be a Heisman star again? He was bottled up in the 31-10 win over San Diego State with just 29 yards, but the rest of the team picked up the slack.
Can JT Daniels build on his big first game? He wasn’t flawless against UNLV, but he got through the 43-21 win alive. And now it’s time to step up his game.
Forget the flaws and concerns for a moment. Both teams are great, both have a realistic shot to win the Pac-12 title, and both should put on a great show.
One Reason Why USC Will Win
Do what the San Diego State defense did, and then D up in the secondary.
The Aztecs sold out to stop Love and the running game, and it worked in a big, big way.
There weren’t even that many big plays in the backfield, but Stanford was still held to just 50 yards and under two yards per carry.
UNLV couldn’t get much going with its passing attack last week against the Trojans, but obviously the Cardinal have more downfield playmakers and talent. USC has the defensive backs, though, to come through under the pressure, and the line has the pass rush to bother QB KJ Costello. SDSU didn’t do that.
Stanford played well, but the Aztecs also shot themselves in the foot time and again. Don’t commit a lot of penalties, be sharp on third downs, and keep stopping Love. Do all three of those things, and USC wins, but …
One Reason Why Stanford Will Win
The Stanford passing game now looks amazing.
Okay, everyone. You want to line up and shut down Mr. Love? Welcome to JJ Arcega-Whiteside.
The massive Cardinal receiver destroyed SDSU with six catches for 226 yards and three scores, partly because Costello got time, and was fantastic. Hang it up in the air, and let the big targets pull it down.
Will USC have to pick its poison? Can the Trojans actually stop Love?
UNLV’s Lexington Thomas ripped up the Trojans for 136 yards and a score for a ground game that finished with 308 yards and a touchdown. This week, even though USC might try to stop what the Cardinal will bring, it might not matter.
What’s Going To Happen
Love will be Love again.
USC has the ability to load up to slow down the superstar, but this will be a gut-check moment for the Stanford offensive line. It’s a pride thing, and it’ll make sure that their guy gets his yards.
It’ll take one drive for Love to blow past last week’s run total, but the USC defense will rise up against the other parts of the puzzle.
Daniels won’t have to carry the offense, and he’ll throw a few picks, but he’ll also look and play like the next big thing as he lets it rip under the pressure of the Cardinal pass rush.
It’ll be a fun, tough game with plenty of momentum swings, but it’ll be USC’s clutch late drive – helped by a few big throws from Daniels – to get out with a big, big win.
Fearless Prediction & Line
USC 27, Stanford 24
Line: Stanford -5.5, o/u: 56.5
ATS Confidence out of 5: 2
Must See Rating: 4
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