After a much-needed week off, the Trojans are back in action as they host Cal tonight. Thursday night games can be weird as USC has had trouble in the past. Here are our staff predictions:
Julian Lopez- USC-48 Cal-24.
I am confused to what Cal team will show up.. Will it be the team that stuffed Utah in the red zone and came away victorious or will it be the team that lost to Oregon State. USC will extend the streak to 13 games over Cal with a big win. The offense will have over 500 total yards as Sam Darnold and company have a big night.
Matthew Lowry: USC-45 Cal- 21
I agree with Julian on the fact that Cal is a pretty inconsistent team. One week they play good football and come away with a win, then the next week they suffer a puzzling loss. I think this will be one of those games where Cal will just be overmatched. USC has everything rolling at just the right time and has had extra time to prepare for Cal’s “Bear Raid”.
Nick Dempsey: 42-28
USC is red hot at home having not lost in the Coliseum in the Clay Helton era. The Cal Bears have lost 7 straight true road games dating back to September of 2015 (they did win neutral site games against Air force and Hawaii). Cal has an amazing offense to be sure but USC will almost certainly be the best defense the Bears have played thus far in 2016. The Bears defense is weak giving up on average about 41 points per game to the likes of Hawaii, Oregon State, and San Diego State. Really the only game the Bears defense looked good in was giving up 23 to Utah in a game at home on October 1st. While Justin Davis is out I don’t see anyway the Bears will stop the run game. I also do not think they have an answer for JuJu Smith-Schuster or Sam Darnold for that matter. Is it possible Cal wins this game? Sure, when a team can score that many points they always have chance but it is highly unlikely. I like the Trojans to keep it rolling at home.
Steve Walter: USC-35, Cal-21
With Davis Webb at quarterback, Cal has been throwing points on the board all year long. They outlasted Oregon 52-49 last week in yet another shootout. However, USC has been in this situation before - matched up against a high-octane offense. And the Trojan defense has passed the test in three straight games, holding down ASU, Colorado, and Arizona. Expect USC to control the tempo on both sides of the ball once again. Trojans by 2 touchdowns.