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Washington St. Cougars vs. USC Trojans Gambling Prediction & Week 2 Preview

Cougars vs Trojans NCAA Football Spread/Handicapping

The USC Trojans are set to host the Washington State Cougars in Week 2 of the college football season, and while the home team will certainly be the favorites, WSU has a dangerous passing attack that will test the defense right out of the gate.

Washington State (0-1) @ USC (1-0)
Saturday, Sept. 7, 10:30 PM ET @ Los Angeles Coliseum
Moneyline: N/A 
Spread: USC -15 
O/U: 53.5

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Both of these teams have questions early in the season, and most notably, it’s who will emerge as the No. 1 quarterback for the Trojans. USC has a ton of talent across the depth chart, but finding a consistent presence behind center will help it in a push toward conference supremacy.

Washington State

The Washington State Cougars are all about the air raid offense, and that’s not going to change when they travel to Southern California to take on the Trojans.

What does need to change, however, is passing accuracy. Against Auburn, Connor Halliday threw three interceptions to a defense that had two all of 2012. USC intercepted the ball four times in Week 1, which means WSU needs to be extra cautious before letting it fly—the offensive line must also do a better job giving the man behind center time to make plays.

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The other thing that the Cougs must do in Week 2 is force USC to throw the ball. It’s the team’s first season without Matt Barkley in four years, and the passing game was shaky at times against Hawaii.

USC will want to run the ball—especially with the potential return of Silas Redd—which means WSU has to force the new QB to make plays.

USC

The Trojans and their fans are hoping to have Redd, the team’s top rusher from 2012, back in action against Washington State. Redd sat out with a knee injury, but is expected to see time sooner rather than later. [soliloquy id=”82219″]

Getting the tailback on the field will do wonders for this offense, and it will hopefully open up the passing game for the two new quarterbacks.

Replacing Matt Barkley is a combination of Cody Kessler and Max Wittek. The two played well in the opener, and while Wittek had the higher QBR, Kessler attempted 19 of the team’s 29 passes. It appears as if Kessler is emerging as the full-time starter, but against WSU, the plan of attack will be to exploit the run defense.

If Redd sees the field, the team has its No. 1 option. If he doesn’t, it still has a more-than-capable two-headed monster in Tre Madden and Justin Davis, who combined for 183 yards in the opener.

The running game should be in full effect against the Cougars, especially after WSU gave up 295 rushing yards in Week 1.

Barring a catastrophic home opener, USC should walk away victorious. The question is whether or not it dominates a team with less talent this early in the year. Don’t be surprised if this one is close much of the way; but don’t be shocked, either, if the Trojans take over late.

O/U Pick: Over
Score Prediction: USC 38 – Washington State 23

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