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Week 11 - USC at California
Posted Nov 7, 2013

Week 11 Pac-12 Fearless Prediction & Preview - USC at California

USC (6-3) at Cal (1-8) Nov. 9, 3:00, Fox

Why You Should Give A Hoot: Ed Orgeron may not land the USC job on a full-time basis, but he’ll be gainfully employed somewhere in 2014. Orgeron has done a terrific job since replacing Lane Kiffin, leading the Trojans to three straight Pac-12 wins, the latest an upset of Oregon State in Corvallis. While Troy has no margin for error, it remains in the South Division hunt just a game in the loss column behind Arizona State. Cal, on the other hand, hasn’t won a game since Sept. 7, dropping seven in a row. The Bears did put a scare in last week’s 33-28 loss to Arizona, though, indication that the kids have not quit on first-year head coach Sonny Dykes.

Why USC Might Win: The Trojans have located their defensive groove, the one they had back in September. Depth issues be damned. Troy has clamped down on its last three opponents, holding Notre Dame, Utah and Oregon State to just 31 total points. Cal lacks the balance and the seasoning under center to have sustained success against a unit that will collapse the pocket with physical ends Leonard Williams and George Uko and outside linebackers Devon Kennard and Morgan Breslin, assuming a hip injury doesn’t keep him out.

Why Cal Might Win: If the USC offense goes AWOL, which has been known to happen, the program is vulnerable to just about anyone. It’s worth noting that the Trojans scored just seven points in their loss to Wazzu and only 10 against Notre Dame. If the door is left open, the Bears are liable to bust through on the right arm of rookie QB Jared Goff. The Bears located a new weapon in the passing game with which to attack a young USC secondary. WR Kenny Lawler caught three touchdown passes last week, joining Bryce Treggs and Chris Harper as threats to stretch the defense.

Who To Watch Out For: The Trojans continue to do an excellent job of bolstering their backfield depth. The team had two 100-yard rushers versus the Beavers, veteran Silas Redd and Tallahassee sophomore Javorius Allen. Allen added three touchdowns, showing great vision and decisiveness.

- Trojan WR Marqise Lee had an immediate impact in his return from injury, catching five balls for 105 yards and a long touchdown. When No. 9 is available and healthy, everyone in cardinal and gold is better, especially erratic QB Cody Kessler.

- How in the world can Cal withstand the pressure of the USC front seven? The Bears have yielded 26 sacks, more than just nine FBS schools, and Trojan defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast has excelled at dialing up the right packages to confound opposing quarterbacks.

What Will Happen: USC has learned to do more with less, finding the right formula to overcome a lack of team depth. The salty defense and the running game will fuel a third straight win against overmatched and one-dimensional Cal, keeping the Trojans competitive in the Pac-12 South title chase.

Prediction: USC 37 … Cal 17
Line: USC-17 o/u: 55.5
Must See Rating: (5 The Wolf of Wall Street – 1 Ass Backwards) … 2.5
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