Week 7 - USC at Washington

Posted Oct 10, 2012

Week 7 Fearless Predictions & Game Preview - USC at Washington

USC (4-1) at Washington (3-2) Oct. 13, 7:00, Fox

Here's The Deal:For the fourth time in the last five games, Troy travels to play a game, this time heading to the Pacific Northwest to face a dangerous Washington squad. The Trojans have battled back from their loss to Stanford on Sept. 15 to knock off Cal and Utah to remain on the short list of South Division contenders. The No. 11 team in the latest AP rankings averted disaster last week in Salt Lake City, overcoming a dreadful start to soar past the Utes, 38-28. With the Huskies, you just never know what you're going to get. For the most part, they've performed poorly during the first half of the campaign, but did rise up to shock Stanford in Seattle two weeks ago. In other words, U-Dub is the kind of team that can beat—or bow to—just about anyone. This will be the third meeting between head coaches Lane Kiffin and Steve Sarkisian, who were assistants under Pete Carroll for five years at USC.

Why USC Might Win: The Trojans have the advantage up front, which will make everyone else on the team better on Saturday evening. Where is the Washington pass rush, which has produced just three sacks over the last four games? Matt Barkley figures to get the time he'll need to survey the field and find an open receiver. Husky CB Desmond Trufant might be able to contain, say, Robert Woods, but who keeps up with Marqise Lee or the athletic USC tight ends? No one will. Oh, and the Troy O-line is playing much better than the Huskies, which will have all kinds of problems sealing off DE Morgan Breslin and DT George Uko.

Why Washington Might Win: The Huskies already have the blueprint for how to beat a ranked team, having taken down Stanford the week after the Cardinal had beaten USC. Defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox will devise a scheme for slowing down the Trojans, using some man coverages and looks that get DE Josh Shirley into the backfield as regularly as possible. Sarkisian will ask a lot from his offense, which has been a major disappointment so far this season. The line has got to find a way to give talented QB Keith Price more time to operate, while paving a path for Bishop Sankey to run.

What To Watch Out For: Trufant versus whichever Trojans receiver he covers will instantly become one of the most watched matchups of the game, for fans and NFL scouts. The key, though, will be how well the other corner, either Tre Watson or Marcus Peters hold up on the opposite side. It'll be a tall order, especially since the Washington linebackers are a mediocre lot. Barkley seemed to have gotten his rhythm back in the Utah game, which the senior will attempt to turn into a trend this weekend.

What Will Happen: The scheme that Washington used to halt Stanford won't work versus USC. Too much speed and too many dynamic playmakers in the Trojans huddle. The Huskies will be fired up to have a ranked rival in town, but the energy will only carry the team so far. Eventually, Troy will pull away on the strength of Barkley's arm and an aggressive defense that will force Price to throw on the move all evening. The more USC gets comfortable winning in tough venues, the more likely it is to challenge Oregon for the top spot in the Pac-12.

CFN Prediction: USC 31 … Washington 24
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) USC -12.5 O/U: 55.5
Must Watch Rating (5 – Argo, 1 – Pitch Perfect): 3.5