College football odds: California at No. 13 USC
Southern Cal, the preseason odds-on favorite to win the national title, looks to begin to try and put its season back together and climb back up the polls starting Saturday vs. Cal in the Pac-12 opener vs. the Bears. USC is a 16-point favorite on WagerWeb.com.
Then-No. 2 USC lost its fourth straight game to Stanford on Saturday night, 21-14. Heisman Trophy hopeful Matt Barkley threw for 254 yards and two interceptions while completing only 20 of 41 passes. He was sacked twice on the final drive for the Trojans (2-1, 0-1 Pac-12) and threw out of bounds on a final, desperate heave on fourth-and-39 from USC’s 25-yard line. Stanford sacked Barkley four times and had him constantly losing his poise in the pocket. The Cardinal outgained the Trojans 417 to 280 total yards and held USC to only 26 yards rushing.
USC coach Lane Kiffin was puzzled by two “really poor decisions” made by Barkley in the second quarter. On a third down with less than two minutes to play in the first half of Saturday’s game, Barkley threw into traffic and was intercepted by the Cardinal’s Jordan Richards. Then, after USC linebacker Dion Bailey picked off the ensuing throw from Stanford’s Josh Nunes, Barkley forced a throw downfield and had his second straight pass intercepted.
“(That was) really unusual by Matt,” Kiffin said in his Sunday evening conference call with reporters. “Probably two of his worst decisions in our three years together on back-to-back plays.”
California lost 35-28 at Ohio State. The Golden Bears (1-2) missed three field goals and had a touchdown called back by a penalty. They put up 512 yards of offense. Zach Maynard’s pass was intercepted by Christian Bryant with just over a minute left in the game. Maynard was 26 of 37 passing for 280 yards and a touchdown.
This will be the 100th meeting between the schools. Cal is the team USC has played more than any opponent. Troy has won 8 in row over the Golden Bears (Cal has averaged just 10 points in each of those losses) and 9 of the last 10, plus the Trojans have won the past 5 Coliseum meetings over Cal. Last year, USC won 30-9. Barkley threw two touchdown passes and Southern California took advantage of five turnovers from California.
WagerWeb.com trends: Under is 7-1 in the last 8 meetings. Favorite is 6-1 ATS in their last 7 meetings. Golden Bears are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 meetings in Southern California. Road team is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 meetings. Golden Bears are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 meetings.