Your PAC-12 Champions... The Utah Utes!

The Pac-12 Preview

I want to start off by saying that Utah and USC both have had great seasons. The Utes were able to take down USC earlier this season, and USC took care of every other team that stood in their path. The Trojans are now one win away from trip to the College Football Playoffs. However, the Utes are going to try and spoil the party even more. As far as Utah is concerned, if they can beat USC once they can do it again. I for one, truly believe that they can pull it off. Here is why.

The Line is Inaccurate

If we take a look at the first matchup this season, Utah finished as a 3.5 point favorite AT Utah. In college football it is safe to assume that home field advantage is woth approximately 2.5 points. At this point in time, Utah is a 2.5 point underdog on a neutral field. This is a 5 point swing from a change of venue. This is not congruent with simply a change of venue. Bookmakers must be devaluing Utah after their loss to Oregon, but was that loss REALLY worth the leftover 3.5 points? I would argue no, and that this is a serious mis-pricing. This feeling of mis-pricing is further inflated once you consider that Utah played in this game LAST YEAR at Allegiant Stadium in Vegas against Oregon. Utah has been here, USC has not. This game may be on a neutral field, but it is not truly a neutral field.

Who Will Control Time of Possession?

Utah is averaging nearly 34 minutes of possession per game, while USC is only averaging around 31. This is largely due to Utah's presence on the ground. They have the second most rush yards per game in the PAC-12, approximately 220. But maybe USC's rush defense can stop them? Well, that is not very likely. USC is allowing over 140 rush yards per game. There is not doubt that USC's offense is tough to match, but by controlling tempo the Utes can dictate how this game is played.

Defense and Discipline

Utah beats USC in both of these categories. Offensively, Utah is averaging 20 LESS penalty yards per game than USC. Defensively, Utah is allowing nearly 100 LESS per game than USC. If you look at the score of the USC/ND game from last week, you would think that USC dominated Notre Dame. That was not the case. Drew Pyne had 300+ pass yards and ND only gained about 30 yards less than USC. ND had trouble converting on late downs, like they have all season. I don't expect Utah to have the same issues Notre Dame had.

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The yellow flag actually matches USC's colors!

Official Picks:

Utah +2.5 (5u)

Utah ML +130 (3u)