If you've been with us from the get go we are now making you money. A clean 3-0 sweep last week moves our overall record to 5-4 heading into our first Sark-less week. In the words of Jerry McGuire: Show me the money! In the words of Method Man: Cash rules everything around me. CREAM. Get the Money. Dolla Dolla Bill Y'all.
As always, we will be reviewing USC both as a spread game as well as the over/under. The Notre Dame matchup is an interesting one as neither of the teams involved look anything as they were projected to at the beginning of 2015. USC was considered a title contender and Notre Dame was trying to sneak their way up with first year starter Malik Zaire.
The pick of the week stays close to home with a late-night Pac 12 showdown as we look to push onward into the 60% win category.
USC at Notre Dame (-7)
USC: 3-2 (3-2 ATS)
Notre Dame: 5-1 (5-1 ATS)
Key Stat: Since Pete Carroll took over USC, the Trojans have won their first game after a coaching change all 5 times.
This game comes down to feel. The week USC has had is one for the ages. No more Steve Sarkisian means a promotion for offensive coordinator Clay Helton (who many thought didn't deserve the job he had). However, USC had an extra-long week coming off their Thursday night loss to Washington and should come out angry. They have been bashed from sun-up till sun-down the past few days, and there should be hunger. The talent is on this Jackyll/Hyde team the 2015 Trojans are putting out, and I expect it to shine as the Trojans win one for Coach Sark.
USC has yet to play two bad games in a row and dominated their only road game of the season against Arizona State. They may not win straight up, but they feel like the right choice given the points.
Verdict: USC +7
USC at Notre Dame +/- 61
USC: 2-3 +/-
Notre Dame: 3-3 +/-
Key Stat: 10th Anniversary Bush-Push Edition: USC ranks outside the Top 60 in rushing offense
Each team is known for its offense, but neither is doing well on their prior over/unders with a combined record of 5-6. We all know about the Trojan's horses (pun semi-intended), but the Notre Dame offense of backups has been prolific as well. DeShawn Kaiser has been a miracle worker for Notre Dame at quarterback (literally if you saw that Virginia game) and his RB counterpart C.J. Prosise has been equally impressive. With nearly 3x the yardage of Tre Madden (779 to 333), the Brian Kelly spread attack should come with a heavy dose of both run and pass.
Yet with all of this, I expect this game to get ugly. USC will be angry, and their defense will muck up an offense predicated on timing. The game will be close, but I am not sure if 61 points are in the cards.
Verdict: Under 61
Pick of the Week: Arizona State at Utah (-6.5)
Arizona State: 2-4 ATS
Utah: 3-2 ATS
Key Stat: Utah leads the nation in turnover margin at an average of +2/game (+10 on the season)
This game is a battle of overrated teams by Vegas standards. While Utah has wowed everyone who has watched them, they limp in at a surprising 3-2 ATS. Arizona State, meanwhile, has come back after starting 0-3 ATS, and Vegas is riding them to the bank. Nothing to get the public off a team quite like a slow start.
Utah looks to be the far superior team in this matchup and they are receiving the 2nd most 1st place votes in the AP poll. Kyle Whittingham is the current "IT" coach (USC anyone???) and he has his Utes rolling. The offense has dominated everyone, including putting 24 points on a Michigan team that hasn't given up a single point in 3 weeks, and the defense has been equally impressive. Their 62-20 win at Oregon may still be the result of the season even with the Ducks' struggles.
The biggest concern to a Utah victory is an emotional letdown after a week that included a visit from ESPN's College Gameday, but this team appears too strong for that type of nonsense. Giving points away is never fun but seems worthwhile in this case.
Verdict: Utah -6.5