“Big Noon Kickoff,” the Colorado Buffaloes host the eighth-ranked USC Trojans as three-TD underdogs (12:00 pm ET, FOX). Though it’s an early kickoff time for Caleb Williams and company, betting markets seem optimistic they can maintain their unblemished record, as evidenced by their money line price of -2000, which gives an implied win probability of 95.24 per cent.
Deion Sanders and his squad face an uphill climb following their 42-6 defeat against then-No. 10 Oregon in Eugene. Without Travis Hunter as their key playmaker, Colorado simply had no answers for Oregon; they were outgained 522-199; lost a turnover battle and allowed seven sacks, trailed 35-0 at the half and were outmatched in trenches by the more talented Oregon group.
USC improved to 4-0 with a 42-28 road win against Arizona State, though they fell short relative to expectations by not covering as 34.5-point favorites. Arizona State played inspired football throughout all four quarters, surprising even themselves! USC quarterback Caleb Williams wasn’t at his best, yet he still managed 322 passing yards and three touchdown passes against no interceptions.
Colorado might offer an appealing 21.5-point cushion at home, but we wouldn’t advise backing them against the spread. Their inconsistent offensive line should be a major red flag against a USC defense boasting the 11th-highest sack rate (10.46 per cent).
Colorado was humbled by Oregon by 36 points on Saturday. Oregon pressured CU quarterback Shedeur Sanders even when only four defenders rushed at him at once; leaving seven players on the back end compounds this difficulty for Sanders in extending drives.
Expect USC to generate pressure naturally without resorting to its defensive coordinator Alex Grinch’s usual blitzing tactics, which should lead to another powerful poor offensive outing display by Colorado.
On the other side of the ball, USC’s outstanding offense should have no problem marching up and down the field against Colorado’s 125th-ranked total defense (475.8 yards per game allowed). USC’s balanced approach will undoubtedly give their opponents fits as Lincoln Riley can unleash multiple strategies at them to beat you.
USC offensive linemen Jonah Monheim and Michael Tarquin should give Williams enough time in the pocket while opening up running lanes for running backs Marshawn Lloyd and Austin Jones.
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