Free College Football Pick: Oregon at USC 10-30-2010

October 29, 2010

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#2 Oregon Ducks at USC Trojans

Saturday October 30th, 2010 8:00 PM EST

Line: Oregon -7

Overview:

The Oregon Ducks have been the most explosive team in the country this year. They have an undefeated 7-0 record and will seek to protect their National Championship hopes alive as they take on the 5-2 USC Trojans. USC has bullied the rest of the Pac-10 for the last decade. Under Lane Kiffen, the Trojans are in transition, but still prove to be a force to be reckoned with. The Trojans are coming off a dominant performance against Cal. No team has been able to stay within eleven points of Oregon all season long. Will USC be the first?

Keys to the Game:

  • Lamichael James already is approaching 1000 yards this season and if USC wants any shot at winning they are going to have to contain him. Last week, USC geared up against Shane Vereen and bottled him up completely. The USC defense is packed with talent, but they need to be better sure tacklers in the open field. Two missed tackles could spell disaster when facing someone like James in the open field. James has only been held under 100 yards once this season. When he faced Arizona State, he struggled on the ground, producing a 3.4 yard per carry average. ASU has a swarming defense with relentless pursuit to the ball carrier. USC will need to replicate that same gang tackling mentality in order to stop James.
  • Matt Barkley will be the king of the PAC 10 next year, if he keeps up the level of play he is experiencing. Jake Locker and Andrew Luck may run the show as of right now, but nobody looks better than Barkley. Barkley has already thrown for twenty touchdowns, producing five in a game twice already this season. Barkley is poised and lethally accurate. As a sophomore, he has already become the face of the USC football program. His leadership is unquestionable and next year he will be in the Heisman discussion. Like Matt Leinart, Mark Sanchez, and Carson Palmer before him, Barkley will easily be a top fifteen pick when he decides to enter the draft.
  • Freshman Robert Woods has a connection with Barkley. They execute on back shoulder throws reminiscent of Texas Tech when Michael Crabtree was there. Woods is USC’s leading receiver and has made some spectacular catches. He will be a staple in the USC offense for the remainder of Barkley’s tenure as the Trojans starting quarterback. Woods is a sure handed 6-1 wide receiver with blazing speed. He has already scored six touchdowns this year and you can expect him to break loose in the one.
  • The Ducks are deadly on defense. Safety John Boyett is a ferocious playmaker in the middle of the field. While other Oregon Ducks may obtain the credit for being the 12th ranked deense in the country, Boyett plays sideline to sideline and terrifies receivers who come across the middle. It will be interesting to see how he fairs against Robert Woods. Oregon as a unit is stingy. They will undoubtedly send blitzes at Barkley to try to off set his rhythm, as Washington St. did. Barkley isn’t the type to get rattled, but nobody can be collected while they are on the ground.

Wrap Up:

I like Oregon to win the game, but they aren’t going to win by seven. USC is playing with a chip on their shoulder. The Trojans are one of the best teams they have faced all year. Hopefully for USC, Barkley doesn’t experience the same struggles as Luck did against Oregon.

Free College Football Pick: USC +7


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