Early Pac-12 Matchup Features New-Look USC Team Heading to Palo Alto
Southern California vs Stanford: Few results in the Pac-12 a season ago were more surprising than Stanford’s 42-28 win at USC. While it might be a reach to suggest that one game cost Clay Helton, his job as the USC head coach, it certainly didn’t help. It only looked worse as the season went on and the Cardinal only won one more conference game.
It would be quite an understatement to say things are a little different from the last time USC and Stanford met up. USC’s head coach (Lincoln Riley) and quarterback (Caleb Williams) were at Oklahoma last season. Williams is far from the only newcomer as the Trojans had the No. 1 rated class of transfers. It is not surprising that the Southern California vs Stanford odds favor the Trojans by more than a touchdown.
Stanford quarterback Tanner McKee made quite the impression the last time these teams met as he threw for two touchdowns in the win over USC in 2021. He also had a touchdown run in the game.
According to the college football lines, Southern California (+150) has the best odds to win the Pac-12 title. Stanford (+8000) is tied for 10th. Still, in this week’s NCAAF schedule, this is a game to circle thanks to last year’s result.
The Trojans (+1800) come in fifth in the odds to win the national championship. The Trojans moved up four spots to No. 10 in the Associated Press poll. In the American Football Coaches Association poll, USC went from 15th to 12th.
Southern California vs Stanford Game Information
- Game: Southern California Trojans 1-0 vs Stanford Cardinal 1-0
- Location: Stanford Stadium, Palo Alto, California
- Television: ABC
Southern California Trojans
While most of the attention in the offseason had to do with not only Riley leaving Oklahoma to come to USC, but also star quarterback Caleb Williams making the same journey. However, in the first game for the duo at USC, it was the running game that dominated. USC ran for more than 200 yards and averaged 7.4 yards per carry in a season-opening win over Rice. That is one of the reasons why the Southern California vs Stanford odds are in favor of the visiting Trojans.
Williams led the way with 68 yards on the ground. Austin Jones had two of the four scoring runs. Williams (+550) has the third-best odds to win the Heisman Trophy.
Jordan Addison, the 2021 Biletnikoff Award winner as the top receiver in college football, is among the other prominent incoming transfers. He had five catches for 54 yards and a pair of touchdowns in his first game for the Trojans. Williams finished with 249 passing yards and the two TDs to Addison.
Lineman Tyrone Taleni and linebacker Shane Lee each had two tackles for loss in the 66-14 win. Lee also finished with a team-high eight solo tackles.
E.J. Smith had almost as many receptions as rushing attempts in his first two seasons at Stanford. It was a different story in the season-opening win over Colgate as Smith rushed for 118 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries. He added five catches in the win. Even with those numbers, the Stanford football odds favor the visiting Trojans by nearly 10 points.
McKee was 22 of 27 for 308 yards with two touchdown passes and an interception. Smith was one of four players with either four or five catches in the win.
The defense held Colgate to 59 passing yards, the fewest yards a Stanford defense has allowed through the air since holding Oregon to 33 on Oct. 14, 2017.
Kendall Williamson had an interception while Levani Damuni had a team-high 10 tackles. Defensive end David Bailey became the first Stanford true freshman to start a season opener since Owen Marecic in 2007. Bailey finished with two tackles.
Southern California vs Stanford Injury Update
For USC, running back Raleek Brown (ankle) is probable, defensive backs Briton Allen (knee), defensive lineman De’jon Benton (arm), Zion Branch, Domani Jackson (knee), Joshua Jackson, and Adonis Otey, defensive lineman De’jon Benton (arm), offensive lineman Jason Rodriguez, receiver Michael Jackson, linebacker Chris Thompson, and kicker Garth White are questionable. Quarterback Mo Hasan (Achilles) and tight end Jude Wolfe (foot) are out indefinitely.
Stanford starting offensive guard Branson Bragg is questionable.
Southern California vs Stanford Head-to-Head
Stanford has won two of the last three matchups with USC and that includes a 42-28 win as a 17.5-point underdog on the road in 2021. The last time the Trojans came to Palo Alto, Stanford chalked up a 17-3 win as a 4½-point favorite.
The Cardinal has won five of the last eight matchups with USC. The last time the Trojans won at Stanford came on Sept. 6, 2014, when Stanford was favored by three points.
Southern California vs Stanford Betting Preview
USC is favored by nine points and that is not good news for Stanford. The Cardinal is 0-6 straight up and against the spread in the last six games when listed as the underdog.
Stanford posted just two sacks in the win against Colgate and the Cardinal will need to do a better job pressuring the quarterback because Williams can carve up any defense if he is given the time to survey the field.
Southern California has covered against the college football betting odds in just two of its last eight games. The nine-point line seems pretty reasonable for the Trojans to cover.
The total has gone under in four of the last five games between USC and Stanford.
When looking at the football odds, Stanford has failed to cover in its last five home games and is 0-8 against the spread in the last eight contests. The last time the Cardinal opened a season 2-0 came in 2018 when Stanford won the first four games. The game that improved its record to 2-0 was a win against USC.Follow us on Twitter