USC Trojans vs. Colorado Buffaloes
Date and Time: Saturday, November 11, 2017, 4 p.m. ET
Location: Folsom Field, Boulder, CO
Opening College Football Odds: USC -12.5
USC vs. Colorado TV Coverage: FOX
The Trojans are going to need a miracle to legitimately get back into the CFP discussion, but it's hard to view them as anything but the favorites to win the Pac-12 at this point after crushing Arizona State and Arizona by 31 and 14 points respectively. Both games were easily covered, removing the stench from a ridiculous 1-7 ATS start to the season.
Sam Darnold is rightfully getting headlines right now, but the man who is really making this all go for USC at the moment is Ronald Jones. Jones has rumbled for 194 and 216 yards in his last two games, accounting for five rushing touchdowns along the way. Jones is a superior talent as a junior, and it's possible that the end of this season is jumpstarting a potential push at the Heisman Trophy next year just as Darnold did at the end of his redshirt freshman season.
Colorado has been a big disappointment this year after playing for the Pac-12 title last season. The Buffs started at 3-0 as they were expected to do so, but they've fallen off the face of the planet since that point. The only wins they have since September came at Oregon State and home to Cal.
Now, Mike McIntyre's team is one win shy of bowl eligibility win games left against USC and Utah in which CU will be a double-digit dog at all of the best college football sportsbooks.
Let's not blame Phillip Lindsay, though. Lindsay has been a monster this season, running for 1,334 yards and 13 touchdowns. He already has 263 carries and 20 receptions this year, and there doesn't seem to be anything stopping him from carrying the ball 300 times this season even if Colorado doesn't get into a bowl game.
You hate to say that the key for an offense is to keep the ball away from one of its best players, but that might be the case. At times, Darnold really looked like he was trying to force the ball to Deontay Burnett too much. Burnett started off the season with 59 catches in his first eight games. He's had just four in his last two.
Burnett is a super-talented player, but teams like USC are so much better-served when they're capable of running the football. Jones has suddenly become a huge superstar for this team this season and is the most important player on this offense.
Jones' impact and spreading the ball around to the rest of the talented receivers on this team will pay dividends in the long run, and we've seen that with 97 points hitting the board these last two games.
USC vs. Colorado Free Picks
The Trojans are playing really well right now, but this is a lot of points to be giving the Buffs. The USC defensive line has had its moments of tremendous success over the course of the whole year, but Lindsay is a capable back. He only had 11 carries for 57 yards when these two teams met last year, but if he can continue to touch the ball 25-30 times per game, this is a game that is able to be covered.
Colorado won't ultimately stand a chance of keeping the Trojans from clinching the Pac-12 South, but we prefer the points at our top online sportsbooks.
College Football ATS Pick: Colorado +12.5 at BookMaker.eu
College Football Score Prediction: USC 38, Colorado 27