As we continue to preview the Conference Championship games this Saturday the 5th of December 2015 we can’t overlook the 2015 Pac-12 Championship game as the Pac-12 rivals with the AP No. 24 Trojans of USC 8-4 (Pac-12-South 6-3) playing the No.7 Cardinals of Stanford 10-2 (Pac-12-North 8-1) with the game to be played at the Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California with the kick-off scheduled for 7:50 PM ET and can be seen on ESPN TV.
For those that Bet on College football the Vegas odds have the Cardinals of Stanford favored at -4 ½ with the Over/under at 58 ½ and -200 on the Money Line, while the underdog Trojans of USC are at +4 ½ and +170 on the ML.
If we look at the Regular season game between the Trojans and the Cardinals then one could expect a very explosive offensive game which the Cardinals won that 1st game on the 19th of September 41-31. In that season game the 2 teams combined for 22 1st downs and 902 total offensive yards and scoring 72 points in total for the game. So let’s not talk about defense, as the 2 teams are all about scoring as they both have the desired weapons to do such.
If you like the Trojans of USC your team struggled this season and made to this title game with a 6-3 conference record, and in their season finale they beat the Bruins of UCLA 40-21 as they performed well on both sides of the ball. Offensively their QB C. Kessler, a senior passed for 167 yards and threw 1 TD pass to D. Rogers and 1 to T. McNamara and also scored 1 TD himself on the run. Their passing game did not bring them the needed yardage, so they reverted to their running game which was led by RB J. Davis who rushed for 132 yards on 26 carries and the team totaled 236 yards rushing overall.
In this game against the Cardinals will most likely use their successful ground and pound theory again. They would like to duplicate how Notre Dame rushed playing Stanford for 298 yards and 2 touchdowns with 35 carries in that game, and averaged on each carry some 8.6 yards.
The Trojans RB trio may be able to run over the Stanford’s weak defense, as their leader RB R. Jones has 7 touchdowns and 891 rushing yards, with Davis with 5 touchdowns and 777 rushing yards and the 3rd of the trio T. Madden with 5 touchdowns and 452 rushing yards.
On defense USC as the will seek their pass rush to slow down the Cardinals pass offense, as they rank 2nd in the conference with 36 sacks this season, and leading the Trojans are LB’s S. Cravens with 5.5 sacks and P. Gustin with 4.5 sacks while DL D. Simmons and LB S. Felix both have 4 sacks this season. USC in their ultimate 5 games have won four of those 5 games.
If you like the Cardinal of Stanford you must know that their QB K. Hogan was their star in their win over the No.6 Fighting Irish of Notre Dame as he passed for 4 touchdowns and 268 yards plus he led the team to position to kick a winning field goal as the time ran out in the game and the Cardinals won the game 38-36. The offense has protected their QB Hogan quite well as they have only allowed some 18 sacks this season and that ranks 2nd in the Pac-12.
Stanford offensively has a powerful RB in C. McCaffrey who is their only player since back in 2012 that has accumulated some 3,000 yards offensively. His stats are like this: rushing 1,641 yards, 7 touchdowns, 436 yards on receptions with 3 touchdowns, 923 yards on kick-off returns, 39 yards on returning punts and has passed for 28 yards. In their game earlier this season against the Cardinals he had 250 overall yards in that game.
The Cardinals are presently ranked 3rd on defense in the Pac-12 and they have only allowed opponents and average of 375 yards each game. However they did struggle in Week 3 against USC as the Cardinals allowed USC to gain offensively some 428 yards. To win this game they need their defense to step up their efforts on 3rd down plays if they are to slow down the Trojans offense in this game. Stanford has won 5 of their 7 games of late against the Trojans.
The sportsbook prediction for this game is that the Cardinals of Stanford will cover the spread and beat the Trojans of USC and be victorious in taking the Pac-12 Title.