USC’s loss to Utah six weeks ago was relatively circumstantial. That’s not to say the Utes were undeserving, but they were home, they rallied late for the go-ahead score, and the Trojans were still figuring things out as a team largely made up of transfers learning how to play together. Caleb Williams had his Heisman Moment™ last week against UCLA and is playing the best football of his career. His coach, Lincoln Riley, is 4-0 in conference title games. Utah is on a 0-4 ATS streak against teams above .500. USC is 3-0 ATS when not favored by a touchdown or more. And now the spread is under a key number. Take the Trojans to win and get in (to the College Football Playoff).
The Trojans have been better than advertised in their first year under Lincoln Riley, with an 11-1 mark and a win in Friday's Pac-12 title game away from an appearance in the CFP. The lone blemish on their record came by one point on the road against Utah, which arguably underachieved relative to expectations. The Utes were knocked out of the CFP picture for good two weeks ago when they failed to capitalize on numerous opportunities in a 20-17 loss at Oregon, and they were also outplayed at UCLA. Even so, a full-strength Utah club is a difficult matchup for USC and the value lies in taking the points in what could be the first chapter in a weekend of potential chaos.
Pac-12 title game from Las Vegas. It's all there for the taking for the Trojans: A spot in the playoff and the Heisman for Caleb Williams. USC lost a wild game at Utah earlier this season, 43-42, but it took a TD and two-point try in the final minute for the Utes, who are just a different team in Salt Lake City (all of the Utes' losses were away). They also have lost two key players to injury since then in running back Tavion Thomas and defensive end Van Fillinger. For what it's worth, USC coach Lincoln Riley was 2-0 in Big 12 title games in a rematch against opponents his team lost to in the regular season. Utah certainly could win, but it's just so tough to beat the same team twice in one season.
USC has been on a mission in coach Lincoln Riley’s first season. He promised big things and they're happening at 11-1, 8-4 ATS, and the likely Heisman Trophy winner in transfer QB Caleb Williams. The only blemish on the Trojans' record is a 43-42 loss at Utah. USC is 5-2 ATS in its last seven. Revenge on the mind and layoffs on the line. The game is in Las Vegas and the price is cheap. Back USC on the money line.