UTAH AT USC
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT
Las Vegas Line: USC -3.5
USC is dangerously close to reaching a few ugly milestones. A loss Saturday to Utah would drop the Trojans to 3-4; no USC team has been below .500 this late in the season since 2001.
A third consecutive loss at the Coliseum would match a skid not seen since the 2000 campaign.
Put simply, USC is playing for its pride. But Utah is playing for so much more than that.
The Utes are one of the bigger surprise stories of the college football season’s first half. Continued success in the second half will land Utah in its first Pac-12 Championship Game, and perhaps the College Football Playoff.
Utah’s underdog status shocked me, though USC has the advantage in terms of sheer talent. But then, such is the case for the Trojans against virtually any opponent.
USC’s 3-3 start — and, similarly, Utah’s perfect first half — serve as proof that talent doesn’t always translate to wins.
Utah plays a style that gives USC fits, imposing its will physically on both lines. The Ute offensive line should pave wide lanes for Devontae Booker, while USC quarterback Cody Kessler can expect rapidly shrinking pockets against Utah’s tenacious and unrelenting pass rush.