USC-Utah and Arizona State-Washington Highlight Vegas Pac 12 Predictions Week 9

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Saturday Blitz Vegas Pac 12 Predictions

Game of the Week

No. 20 USC Trojans at No. 19 Utah Utes

Line: USC by 1

Here’s a Pac-12 South showdown we didn’t think we’d be overexcited about at the beginning of the season. But now, the Utah Utes are not just in control of their own destiny for a Pac-12 title. They are in the College Football Playoff race. And with a home match-up against a USC team that is red-hot right now, this is going to be a game that everybody should tune into if they get the chance.

USC appears to have finally found its groove after playing inconsistent early in the season. The only issue for the Trojans is still defense. One week the secondary is bad, the next week the rush defense is bad. As they go up against Utah on Saturday, it had better be the secondary that’s bad because if the rush defense is bad, this game is over. The Trojans can’t let a great ground game like Utah’s get the besy of them, because it will take them out of their element as well with Steve Sarkisian’s high-powered offense. Speaking of offense, the game rests on balance. Utah’s defense has been pretty good, although a little weaker in the secondary, and for USC to pull out the victory Cody Kessler and Javorius Allen have to look as dominant as they’ve looked over the past few weeks. A little more passing might be prudent in this one to take the Utes out of their element.

Utah, meanwhile, needs to stick with what has gotten it to 5-1, which should be 6-0. The Utes simply need to run the football with Devontae Booker as much as they possibly can. USC has already lost once this year to a run-oriented team, and Utah should do the same thing. They can throw it some, but they should spend the entire game on the ground. That would also keep USC from having as much of a chance at forcing turnovers, which is how they pulled out a defensive struggle against Stanford earlier in the year. On defense, the Utah secondary has to show up. It’s the secondary that blew the game against Washington State and almost blew it against UCLA. Now, it’s going up against another great quarterback in Kessler, and it’s not going to get much help because the front seven has to focus on stopping Javorius Allen. If Utah’s secondary comes through, they most likely win.


The line shows that the oddsmakers in Vegas still trust a program like USC’s over Utah. Not us. Utah will give the Trojans a heavy dose of Booker at home Saturday night, and he will carry them to victory. USC will still put up its points with such a good offense, but the Utes are going to take them a little bit out of their element by staying on the field and turning this into a ball-control running game. Utah will be able to get just enough stops as they run it down USC’s throat all night to pull out a close win.

Utah: 31 USC: 27

Next: Oregon-California