Alicia de Artola | USC 38, Fresno State 35
This game will go one of two ways in my opinion.
Either the Trojans will squeak out a close win or Fresno will jump on USC quickly and hold on to a comfortable win.
I’m choosing to go with the former. It is hard to think this game will be anything but an offensive affair.
Fresno State puts up points and given the strength of their offensive line and passing game there’s no reason to think they will be slowed too much by USC’s slightly inconsistent defense. Getting in Derek Carr’s face throughout the game will be essential.
USC’s offense has been inconsistent as well, but assuming Clay Helton has a plan to manage Cody Kessler in the face of the Bulldog pass rush, the Trojans should be able to get on the board against the Fresno defense.
A big game from Buck Allen a la UCLA (minus the key fumble) will go a long way.
The Trojans won’t have an easy time of it, but a couple key stops late and big plays from Marqise Lee and Allen in crunch time will secure the bowl win.
Michael Castillo | Fresno State 38, USC 20
The Trojans have had quite the year, and now find themselves with their third coach of the year, against an 11-1 Fresno State squad that just missed out on a BCS at-large berth.
Can USC find a way to slow down the nation’s top passer in David Carr or contain the talented Davante Adams? Can the Trojans somehow guard one of the nation’s most productive front sevens while being down two offensive linemen?
It’s a tall task for a team without the identity that Ed Orgeron provided.
Fresno State is too high-powered and should be plenty motivated and unscared to play big ol’ bully from the south, SC. Dogs, by a big margin but it’ll be a game throughout
Matthew Moreno | Fresno State 41, USC 31
With all the ups and downs USC has had this season, their final game could take the cake.
A Trojan win probably wouldn’t completely shock anyone, and it would certainly serve as a nice note to end the season on.
While Las Vegas considers the Trojans the favorite, I just don’t see how the shaky secondary is going to slow down David Carr and the Fresno State offense.
I do think USC will be able to move the ball on offense themselves, but some of that may come late with the game already in hand.
But at the end of the day, down two starting offensive linemen, and with yet another coaching transition, I think they come up short in their bid for a 10-win season.