Michael Castillo | USC 28 Colorado 14
On the frozen tundra of Folsom Field, the Trojans will just need to find a way to take care of business before next week’s mammoth tilt with UCLA.
Complications, including an ailing Marqise Lee and the possibility of snow, call for a run-heavy attack similar to the Cal game two weeks ago. Look for Buck Allen and Ty Isaac to get the bulk of the carries and for Soma Vainuku to play another pivotal role in the offense.
Defensively, the Trojans will need to contain All-Anerican-calibre receiver Paul Richardson. Josh Shaw and company limited Brandin Cooks up in Corvallis, so look for coverages designed at forcing the Buffs to run.
All in all, SC plays within themselves to avoid a letdown and do just enough to get the win on the road in a potentially snowy Boulder. It won’t be pretty but the Trojans should do their part to make next week’s city championship have a division title on the line.
Matthew Moreno | USC 38, Colorado 17
This has the makings of a trap game but if Ed Orgeron wants to be hired long-term, which I think he does, he can’t afford to let USC look past Colorado.
One thing Orgeron has done well since taking over is having the Trojans ready to play from the first snap and I think that’ll carry over into this game.
It’s going to be cold, but the Trojans handled similar weather in 2011. I anticipate the Trojans to counter the cool and possibly slick (icy) weather by placing an emphasis on establishing a dominant rushing attack. However, should they need to throw the ball, Cody Kessler did say earlier in the week that he doesn’t mind the cool temperatures.
It’ll be important for the Trojans to take an early lead, let the reserves get some action, and get out of the game as healthy as possible.
Alicia de Artola | USC 45, Colorado 20
Colorado may not be as bad as Cal this season, but they’re not that much better. Despite four wins, two of the ones they have came against FCS opponents and they lack a quality victory. That’s why the Trojans will win big.
Even if key players like Marqise Lee and Leonard Williams sit out while they fully recover from injury, USC should have enough talent waiting in the wings to take care of business. If nothing else, the knowledge that they’re playing for Ed Orgeron’s shot at the head coaching position should keep the Trojans from overlooking this game.
Trenise Fereira | USC 49, Colorado 7
With the success USC has been experiencing lately, the Trojans look like they can contend with and beat anybody. Orgeron and his team are on a mission to play in a decent bowl game, and even though this game could totally be a trap, USC will not be deterred from its mission. The offense and defense are playing at their respective bests under Orgeron, and USC is relevant once again.
When the dust from Ralphie’s hooves settles and (hopefully) before the dreaded white stuff begin to fall from the sky, USC will head back to warm and sunny Southern California, and it will do so with the win.