This could be the final Between the Lines of the 2015 season. We have been hanging around 50% all season long, so the bright side is that we aren't losing you any money. Time to finish strong with a 3-0 week so we can all go into the bowl season feeling great.
This week is the best one of the year as we have rivalry games all across the country. Beyond USC vs UCLA, this week features Michigan/Ohio State, Alabama/Auburn, Florida/Florida State, and a host of other regional matchups. Sit back, relax, and enjoy your Saturday everyone. It should be a great one.
22 UCLA at USC -3
UCLA: 8-3 (5-5-1 ATS)
USC: 7-4 (5-6 ATS)
Key Stat: UCLA converts on 90.3% of their red zone opportunities while USC is only at 86.7%
Time for the rivalry game that is the most colorful in the nation. Each team comes into this hoping to salvage what ended up a disappointing season. Their combined record for 15-7 is a far cry from early in the year when each team had expectations of being in the the College Football Playoff discussion. USC hosts and is giving points, but neither team seems poised to dominate.
Throughout 2015 the Trojans and Bruins have been up and down; looking like world-beaters some weeks and hopeless the next. UCLA had a 4 game stretch that included 2 double-digit wins against Arizona and Cal sandwiching 2 double-digit losses against Arizona State and Stanford. They seem like the model of inconsistency, until you look at USC.
Basically, my thesis comes down to this. Neither team is great. Neither team is consistent. We don't have a great sense of which way this will go, so take the points.
Verdict: UCLA +3
22 UCLA at USC +/- 62
UCLA: +/- 3-8
USC: +/- 5-6
Key Stat: Each team is in the top 31 in Total Offense and neither is in the top 60 in Total Defense
As it can be clearly seen above, this game in an enigma. I foresee it being close and fun. But fun comes with points, and there should be plenty of them. USC has an identity since Clay Helton took the ropes, and they seem to be scoring with ease compared to their plodding offense early in the season. UCLA and Josh Rosen are averaging 482 yards per game and look to be a formidable opponent to keep up with USC.
Verdict: Over 62