Victory Lane in the Coliseum
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After a rather unimpressive 30-13 victory at Hawaii last Thursday, Lane Kiffin's USC Trojans are again a double-digit favorite, hosting Washington State tonight.
Bovada has the Trojans as a 15-point chalk against Mike Leach's Cougars squad, and I look for the Trojans to look a lot sharper in their second game of the season.
It's the combination of the return of last year's leading rusher, Silas Redd, and the likely inability for Washington State to stop him that plays a large part in our backing of this play.
Redd hauled the pigskin for 905 yards and nine touchdowns last season, but missed last week's season-opening 30-13 win at Hawaii after he underwent what the school called a "minor medical procedure". But if Redd does play, and he's expected to, stopping him would require a major defensive procedure by the Cougars.
It's not just a matter of Redd's ability to tote the rock, but Washington State's inability to stop anyone who does.
Notice by accessing the Bovada data tool on our Home page that the Cougars allowed Auburn to pile up 295 yards on the ground last week in their 7-point loss. And with the Trojan offense getting a few extra days to go back to the drawing board after racking up just 364 yards of offense nine days ago, I think they will look much better in their home debut.
Also take note of another key stat from the team comparisons, which is USC's stifling run defense that allowed just 23 yards on the ground last week. Not that Washington State tries to make much of a living on the ground -- when has a Mike Leach team ever? -- but making the Cougars even more one-dimensional should make them less effective offensively.
Even though USC picked up a double-digit win last week, it was not at all up to their standards, and Redd's return in their home opener, no less, I expect a much more decisive win today.
My pick: USC -15
Result ... Washington State 10 USC 7 Cougars cover
Steve Soprano is the founder and handicapper at www.premierticketsports.com.