USC vs. Oregon prediction, analysis: Ducks will make most of Pac 12 chance


Howie Kussoy picks his winners for Friday night’s college football games, which includes three conference championship matchups. Conference USA, the MAC and Pac-12 will all be decided on Friday night

MARSHALL (-4.5) over Uab

The Thundering McConaugheys arrive at the Conference USA championship off their first loss of the season. That bizarre 20-0 defeat to Rice came after three weeks off, with an offense averaging more than 37 points held silent because quarterback Grant Wells threw more interceptions (five) than he had all season. It would take another unlikely meltdown to sink the nation’s second-ranked defense again.

RUTGERS (+7) over Nebraska

Three years ago, Knoxville nearly rioted at the prospect of Greg Schiano becoming Tennessee’s head coach. At the same time, Scott Frost was in the midst of an unfathomable achievement, inheriting a winless roster and turning it into an undefeated power. Yet, three years from now, Schiano feels like a far safer bet to still hold a Big Ten job, having led the Scarlet Knights to as many conference wins (three) as they had the past four seasons combined.

Buffalo (-13.5) over Ball State

Don’t mess with the Bulls, young men. You’ll get blown out, like each Buffalo (5-0) opponent, which has lost by an average of nearly 31 points per game. Though Jaret Patterson’s 8.33 yards per carry leads the nation’s best ground game, the star running back could share this spotlight with quarterback Kyle Vantrease, who quietly ranks in the top 10 in the nation in yards per pass attempt and gets an opportunity to shine against the Cardinals’ atrocious pass defense.

Oregon (+3) over USC

Deserve has got nothing to do with it. The Ducks shouldn’t be here, but a season which had been sapped of all joy — following surprising back-to-back losses — gets an unusual opportunity for redemption, as replacements for Washington. The Trojans’ habit of pulling out last-minute wins can’t be sustained much longer.

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