USC Trojans (6-3 SU, 5-4 ATS) vs. Washington Huskies (9-0 SU, 5-4 ATS)
College Football Week 11
Date/Time: Saturday, November 12, 2016 at 7:30PM EST
Where: Husky Stadium, Seattle, Washington
By Loot, NCAA Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com
Betting Odds: USC +9/WASH -9
Over/Under Total: 63
In big-time Pac-12 action, the USC Trojans come into Seattle to face the Washington Huskies. USC is on a major roll of late, having overcome an awful 1-3 start to post five straight wins. Their Saturday win over Oregon, 45-20, was another demonstration of their vast offensive improvement, as they have been averaging about 550 yards of offense in that stretch. This looks to be a defining moment for Washington, who beat Cal on Saturday, 66-27. After all, Washington has been tested a few times this season with Arizona and Utah. Maybe a streaking USC team can do the trick.
The offense has really made everything come together for the Trojans. As a result of the proliferation on that side of the ball, the defense has also been playing better. The insertion of QB Sam Darnold has helped this offense blow up. The run-game is in explosive form along with a high-flying pass-game. They certainly didn't hit the ground running in 2016, but don't let that detract from what they've been able to accomplish. If anything, their early failings only enhance the notion that they are a blossoming bunch. Granted, things get a lot tougher this week at Husky Stadium against the clear class of the conference.
Quarterback Sam Darnold, a redshirt freshman, has been excellent with five strong performances in a row since coming in for beleaguered starter Max Browne. During that span, he has thrown 18 touchdowns with just three picks. He has made some useful runs and scored two touchdowns. He can really make all the different throws and has a certain winning vibe behind center that seems to rub off on the team.
On Saturday, Southern Cal also got a big boost once again with Justin Davis running wild for 171 yards and 4 touchdowns. The week before that, he ran for 223 yards against Cal. Deontay Burnett had a big day through the air with 7 catches and a TD reception. Michael Pittman, Jr. was also useful and Darnold's presence has seemed to bring different SC playmakers into the mix. With JuJu Smith-Schuster and Darreus Rogers leading the way, the Southern Cal passing game is pretty formidable. And Davis is on a big ol' roll. Will this group take off in this spot or will their recent explosiveness be muted against the more-formidable Huskies defense.
Naturally in the Pac-12, the Trojans face a lot of good offenses. In five games against Arizona State, Colorado, Arizona, Cal, and Oregon, they gave up a combined 95 points—less than 20 points a game. And with their offense on a rampage, that type of stinginess is really making this team a force heading into the regular season final stretch. They have good balance and have definitely clicked into gear
Washington needed the big win over Cal, with the 39-point win making for an easy cover. They hadn't covered the spread in two weeks and only twice in the last 7 weeks. Against Cal, they were in high-flight offensively and took control of the game. Not even the powerful Cal offense could do much to make the game competitive, with things already getting out of hand midway through the first quarter. Washington is now 9-0 with big things in sight. But if they do get there, they will need to deal with USC, who just might be the biggest hurdle remaining in their way.
Huskies quarterback Jake Browning was in fine form on Saturday evening with six touchdowns and fluidly handling of the formidable Washington offensive machine. For the second time this season, he threw six touchdowns passes, with star receivers John Ross and Dante Pettis each catching three TDs. Pettis even threw a touchdown pass to Darrell Daniels. With Myles Gaskin and Lavon Coleman, the run-game is deep and robust. Each ran for touchdowns on Saturday. They have great balance on this offense with one of the nation's top-scoring teams.
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Washington's defense has been getting the job done. They get turnovers and can make things happen. And like the offense, there is balance on this side of the ball. They've kept all six Pac-12 offenses they've faced under control. Not that they're ironclad, but they've been clutch when asked thus far and they can create some havoc on occasion, whether it be the secondary making plays, balls getting stripped, or a consistently-applied pass rush.
Washington needs this. If they lose, there's a chance they'll see USC again in the conference title game. This would be a bad time for a clunker, as Washington will have to be at their best. The long-starved Huskies faithful know the magnitude of this game, as will the players, coaches, and everyone involved. USC's surge is hardly a secret at this point. It's also not a mirage and it's not difficult to see the Trojans competitive in this spot. I'm taking the points.
Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the USC Trojans plus 9 points.Tired of your credit card not working for sportsbook deposit? End that problem today by signing up and betting the Trojans vs. Huskies game at Bovada Sportsbook where your credit card WILL work and where you'll receive a generous 100% sign-up bonus!