USC won last week, but in the process may have missed out on a chance to qualify for the cup. Star receiver Drake London suffered an ankle injury at the end of the season and the Trojans will have to get used to living without their best striker to take on Arizona at Sun Devil Stadium on Saturday night.
The Trojans will lose each of the four remaining games, and they need to win two of them in order to be eligible for the cup game of their own choosing. If there are not enough teams with six wins, Trojans can be chosen for one if they have five wins, but this seems unlikely.
USC will play one game at a time and will kick off this week at Tempe.
USC Trojans in Arizona Sun Devils (-8.5, 59)
Disappointment about the USC season started early and was carried over from previous seasons. Disappointment in the Arizona season is a fairly new phenomenon. Suddenly, the Sun Devils went from being the favorites of the Southern Division to permanent defeats against Utah and Washington State. Utah’s defeat is especially important for the division tie-breaker.
Arizona was minus four in turnover last week, losing 34-21 to Washington at home. The Sun Devils scored 14 out of 21 points in waste time. The previous week against Utah, Arizona State were leading 21-7 at half-time, but lost 28 points unanswered and lost for the first time in a conference game.
Statistically, ASU should be better than a 5-3 team. This week, the Sun Devils ranked 15th in yards per game on offense, 32nd in yard per game on defense and 10th in the difference in yards per game against FBS opponents. In this type of profile, the Sun Devils are usually fighting for a spot in the rankings rather than being a team that looks destined to be played in a lower tier bowl.
However, the Sun Devils could be in a good position here, as the London trauma threatens the Trojans. Potential first-round picks were over 40% of USC’s receptions and over 43% of the team’s receiving yards. In fact, quarterback Kedon Slovis did not play as well as expected, and now his safety net and his most popular goal are relegated to the background.
London had 88 traps and was damaged on a touchdown against Arizona. Its 1,084 receiving yards is more than 2.5 times that of the next closest interceptor, which is Tahj Washington at 396.
It looks like it will be nearly impossible for USC to adjust to this loss. We may see more of Keontei Ingram and running play, but with the defense throwing over six yards per game, USC’s ability to outrun the teams has been hit hard. Arizona has been a positive regression team from the start, and the Sun Devils seem to have caught the USC at just the right time.
Choice: State of Arizona -8.5
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