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Southern California Quick Predictions

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Syracuse has played two games and won them both. Usually this would be cause for a ticker-tape parade down Salina but the fact is that Syracuse really isn't firing on all cylinders yet. While the (supposed) 1-AA break of URI was welcomed last week, Syracuse only won by a touchdown, and had to come back and go to overtime to beat Wake Forest opening weekend. This team has potential, but right now it is unreached. Cue a west coast road trip to USC.
I'm not going to lie and say that Syracuse, by perception, is not a huge underdog in this game. Syracuse never has done well on west coast trips, Syracuse has not been elite in years, and it is freaking USC after all. But USC has had their share of troubles as we all know. And frankly the statistics show that they are only slightly better than Syracuse in most areas. For example, Syracuse is only out-gained on offense by USC around 70 yards. In the grand scheme that is not a lot. Where USC excels by far is in third down conversions. They convert 44% of the time, while Syracuse is at a lowly 26%. Interestingly enough, Syracuse's offense averages more points and they have less turnovers. And honestly at this point I would put both defenses pretty even. USC had trouble with Minnesota and Utah. It seems the way to beat USC is pass and pass. That will be the key match in this game. Syracuse's offense versus the USC secondary. With two solid receivers and a running back that can catch out of the backfield, Nassib has some weapons at his disposal. QB Matt Barkley should be equally up to the task of slicing up the Syracuse secondary. The key is who gives up the least amount of deep passes. Additionally, USC is starting their third LT in as many starts, so that could be an area the Syracuse defense could exploit. Chandler Jones is reportedly out so that will be a blow to the run defense of Syracuse, but overall these teams are even. Limiting turnovers and capitalizing on the other team's mistakes are key. Syracuse needs to come out firing and take some chances. You have nothing to lose. The upset could easily occur, but I'm taking the smart money and saying USC hold on in a close one. USC over the Orange 28 to 24.
This game will be nationally televised on F/X starting at 8:00pm EST, 5:00pm local time. I'll be enjoying a different football game in person and am out of the home office all weekend, so check @JBren for live updates of the game and some postgame stuff. To all the alumni or fans checking the game out in Los Angeles safe travels and enjoy the game.

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