Free College Football Picks: California at Southern California 10-16-2010

October 15, 2010

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California Golden Bears at Southern California Trojans

Saturday October 16th, 2010

Line: Southern California -3

Overview:

The USC Trojans have suffered back to back heart breakers. They will look to end that streak on Saturday as they play the 3-2 Cal Bears. Cal is one of those teams that is hard to read. They struggle to have an identity, now that super star Jahvid Best left for the NFL. They are not the pass happy team that they were when Aaron Rodgers was there. They need to figure out what they can do to scare teams like they used to. They are trying to be a running team, but thus far they aren’t great at anything.

Keys to the Game:

  • Matt Barkley needs some sort of assistance. Get a pen and write this down. Matt Barkley is going to be the number one overall pick in the 2012 draft. He is pro ready. He has the arm, the demeanor, and the feet to be the ideal quarterback prospect. Starting as a true freshman at USC paid dividends for Barkley this year. In the off season, he slimmed down ten pounds. As a sophomore, he is the face of a USC team who is coming off one of the greatest dynasties in sports history. All that being said, he can’t catch the ball he is throwing. There have been several throws, (one to Stanley Havili stands out), where Barkley puts the ball on the money and they don’t come up with the play. The talent is there. Getting a scholarship to USC is still coveted regardless of the sanctions. The receivers need to hang onto the ball and let their quarterback be successful.
  • Shane Vereen is good, but he isn’t elite. I understand he has a +5 yard per carry average and he is on pace to have well over a thousand yards. He has eight touchdowns on the ground and two receiving. Got it. What I will need to see from Cal and Vereen is him week in and week out putting up big numbers. He has shown up for every game the last three weeks. Cal has given him a bigger role than it originally appeared they would in the first two weeks. If Vereen can keep up this sort of play, he will have an outstanding year. Cal has lost two of its last three games and Vereen has gone off for incredible games, including one for 198 yards against Nevada. To beat teams and reestablish Cal’s dominance, they Vereen needs to be Jahvid Best Marshawn Lynch good.
  • USC needs a defensive leader. Brian Cushing, Ray Mauluga, Clay Matthews, Taylor Mays, these are all players that have led the Trojans in the past. They don’t have that caliber player right now. The players mentioned above all played on the same team. The Trojans don’t have the ridiculous amount of talent that has been pumped in over the last decade, but they still have a good amount of skill on the defensive side of the ball. So you don’t have three players projected to go in the first round out of your linebacking corps. Football is a team game. It is imperative that someone steps up and becomes a difference maker. The USC defense doesn’t have a voice for the first time in a long time.

Wrap Up:

USC has got to be sick of losing by such a small margin. Finishing games is going to be crucial. In each of the last two games, Barkley has marched his team down the field and put together the go ahead scoring drive. Unfortunately, the USC defense has allowed the opposition to come back in the wee minutes of the 4th quarter and kick one through to win the game. USC is at home. I see them winning be at least five.

Free College Football Pick: USC -3


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