USC at UCLA Week 12 Expert Pick
In the 2015 season, crosstown rivals USC and UCLA played for the Pac-12 South title and a trip to the conference championship game. It’s quite possible that happens again this year as most believe the Trojans and Bruins are the two most talented teams in the South. Who wins this year? UCLA likely will be a home favorite on college football odds.
How To Bet on the USC at UCLA Week 12 Expert Pick & TV Info
— UCLA Football (@UCLAFootball) July 26, 2016
USC vs UCLA Historic Betting Trends
Southern Cal beat No. 22 UCLA 40-21 on Nov. 28 last year to win the Pac-12 South, snapping a three- game losing streak in the series. Cody Kessler threw two touchdown passes and ran for another score in the 85th edition of their crosstown showdown. Darreus Rogers and Taylor McNamara caught TD passes while the Trojans, who scored 20 consecutive points in the second half before raising the Victory Bell. Paul Perkins rushed for two touchdowns for the Bruins, who lost to USC for the first time in coach Jim Mora’s tenure. The Trojans grinded out 235 yards rushing against the Bruins' beleaguered run defense. UCLA QB Josh Rosen passed for 227 yards and hit Thomas Duarte for an early TD, but Rosen also threw two second-half interceptions to Iman Marshall.
Why Bet USC?
This is the most talented team in the conference overall but it’s a bit thin due to scholarship reductions. The star is receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster. He returns for his third year as a starting wide receiver as a junior in 2016 and he is a candidate for All-American and the Biletnikoff Award.
Overall in 2015 while starting all 14 games, he had 89 catches for 1,454 yards (16.3 avg) with 10 TDs (all team bests), plus 4 kickoff returns for 51 yards (12.8 avg), a 4-yard rush and 1 tackle. He was 11th nationally in receiving yards (103.9, first in Pac-12), 17th in receiving TDs (10, fourth in Pac-12) and 20th in receptions (6.4, third in Pac-12). His 89 catches in 2015 is seventh on USC’s season list and his 1,454 receiving yards (the third most in a season at USC) is the 17th time a Trojan has eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark.
But USC’s starting QB is still to be determined with Kessler now in the NFL. Kessler’s 2015 stats suggest he was a Heisman finalist: Nearly 67% completions, 29 touchdowns, over 3,500 passing yards, and just 7 interceptions. But USC lost too many games for him to be able to emerge as an elite college quarterback. He still leaves a big hole that is likely to be filled by former five-star Max Browne. The redshirt junior had just 12 pass attempts last year. That lack of experience could open the door to redshirt freshman Sam Darnold.
Why Bet UCLA?
The Bruins have likely the best returning QB in the Pac-12 in Rosen. He is on the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award Watch List. Rosen, who was a semifinalist for the award in 2015, became the first Bruin true freshman to start a season-opener at quarterback last season. He went on to start all 13 contests and set numerous school marks in his initial campaign including a stretch of 245 consecutive passing attempts without an interception and most completions in a game (34).
In addition, he matched the school record by throwing for 300-yards in six games vs. Nebraska (319), Washington State (340), Oregon State (333), Cal (399), Stanford (325) and Virginia (350). His total of 410 yards of total offense against Washington State ranks No. 9 on the all-time school list. Rosen was named The Sporting News’ Freshman of the Year and a first-team Freshman All-America by The Sporting News, USA Today and the Football Writers of America (FWAA).
My Expert Pick
UCLA was chosen by the league’s media to win the Pac-12 South so they are the pick here on college football odds.