The BYU Cougars are set to face the USC Trojans this weekend. Check out our college football odds series, which includes our BYU-USC prediction, odds, and pick.
BYU has done far better this season than most people expected. When Zach Wilson left, the natural assumption among many was that the Cougars would not have a high-powered offense and that they would profoundly struggle to score. Yet, earlier this season, they defeated Virginia 66-49. BYU has flourished on offense this season. Head coach Kalani Sitake is a defense-first head coach, but he obviously has a plan for his team's offense, and he was clearly able to adjust to the roster changes the Cougars endured this past offseason. That reveals a level of dexterity and insight many people weren't sure Sitake possessed. This is an eye-opener for college football odds analysts and for anyone trying to arrive at a BYU-USC pick.
As for USC, there has been no such set of solutions this season. Whereas BYU has been able to succeed, USC has crashed and burned. The Trojans could finish 4-8 if they lose each of their two remaining games. Head coach Clay Helton was fired by USC Athletic Director Mike Bohn after a Week 2 blowout loss at home to Stanford. If anyone thought that a blowout home-field loss was a one-time event in 2021, that notion was quickly dashed by subsequent blowout losses in the Los Angeles Coliseum: to Oregon State, then to Utah, and most recently to UCLA this past weekend. USC allowed 62 points to UCLA, the first time the Trojans have conceded at least 60 points to the Bruins in their Los Angeles rivalry.
The Trojans have truly hit rock-bottom. That has to be part of any attempt to formulate a BYU-USC prediction based on college football odds.
Here’s how the bookmakers have set the odds:
College Football odds: BYU-USC Odds
BYU: -7.5 (+100)
USC: +7.5 (-122)
Over: 65.5 (-105)
Under: 65.5 (-115)
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Why BYU Could Cover the Spread
The Cougars will look at Stanford (42), Oregon State (45), Utah (42), Arizona (34), and UCLA (62) and notice how USC's last several opponents in the Los Angeles Coliseum have all put up huge offensive numbers. USC's defense has simply been rudderless this season; there is no way to talk or analyze around that central, basic reality. USC's defense, if it hasn't figured out ways to contain good offenses by Week 12 (UCLA), won't suddenly arrive at a solution in Week 13 against BYU. This is part of the landscape when making a BYU USC pick.
What also has to be acknowledged is that USC is without receiver Drake London, easily the team's best player and a likely first-round NFL draft pick next April. USC simply needs London in order to function at its best (or anything close to it) on offense.
Why USC Could Cover the Spread
The Trojans have absolutely nothing to lose. They are also playing a BYU team which traveled to Statesboro, Georgia, to play Georgia Southern last week. The long commute followed by yet another road game could leave these Cougars exhausted. USC might be able to swoop in and capitalize on this odd closing section of BYU's imbalanced schedule. This two-game road trip, with games on opposite coasts, could cost the Cougars and bring an unexpected benefit to USC.
Final BYU-USC Prediction & Pick
USC without Drake London is a team with no real margin for error. BYU should score at least 40 points and win a high-scoring game.
Final BYU-USC Pick: BYU -7.5, over 65.5