It’s Trojans and Utes tonight, live in Salt Lake City on ESPN. So, naturally, there’s no better time than to see how it’ll all play out.
Trenise Ferreira: USC wins 35-14
USC travels to Utah on a Thursday night to challenge the Utes in a game that will have implications for the Trojans’ postseason future. The Pac-12 has been really hot in the past few weeks, and the Trojans have ever so slightly lost their edge in the pecking order. USC needs to win, and win big, to convince people that they are still worthy of the praise they had coming into the season. Utah is coming off a 37-7 loss to Arizona State while the Trojans off a 27-9 win over Cal. History is also on USC’s side in this one, as the Trojans have won 70-percent of their Thursday games in school history. Also, with Jordan Wynn going down so early in the year due to–surprise, surprise–a season-ending shoulder injury, the Utes really don’t stand much of a chance against the Wall of Troy, anchored by USC’s newest break-out star, DE Morgan Breslin. Star Lotolelei and the Utes defense will try to give Barkley some trouble, but if he does not succumb to his old ways of shying away from big-time moments, the Trojan offense will prove too much for them to handle. At one point, this game seemed like a potential trap for the Trojans, one that would really give the Trojans a headache. It still could be, but the Utes have looked less and less menacing with each game, especially after that 27-20 OT loss to Utah State. USC should win easily, and they need to win big.
Michael Castillo: USC wins 31-6
This could be the hardest game of the season predict. On the one hand, the Trojans had a little victories against Cal that seem to allow them to build off of those hurdles against Utah. On the other hand, Khaled Holmes is questionable and Utah’s front seven is every bit as good as Stanford’s, plus it’s a Thursday night game at an extremely hostile environment with a crowd that’s been looking forward to this game for over two years. If the Trojans can establish the run with or without Holmes, they should be able to dictate the game as they did against Cal, since Utah’s offense appears to be the worst in the conference or at least on par with Colorado’s. The Utes are going to have to play for tight, low-scoring affair if they want to win, but if that’s going to happen, they’ll still need to outscore Barkley and company and that’s a tall task for an offense that’s struggled to eclipse the 250-yard mark. Expect another big game from the Trojans’ front seven and don’t be surprised if the passing game finally starts to sync. It’ll be a tough game for a large portion of the game, but in the end: Trojans. Semi-big.
How do you see it going down? Leave your predictions below.