Las Vegas Bowl – Fresno State Bulldogs vs USC Trojans
Date and Time: Saturday 12/21/13 at 3:30pm on ABC
Game Line: USC -7 (from JustBet)
Saturday’s Las Vegas Bowl NCAA Football Analysis: The coaching carousel has been spinning all season long at USC, which hopes to have found a long term solution in former assistant Steve Sarkisian, formerly Washington’s head coach. But before Sarkisian can man the side line as their head coach, offensive coordinator Clay Helton will coach the Trojans in the Las Vegas Bowl against Fresno State, who fell just short of a BCS bid. Lane Kiffin’s tenure at USC ended with his firing in September and the Trojans promoted assistant coach Ed Orgeron to the interim job where he win six of his first seven before losing to UCLA in the last game of the season. Despite his success, USC decided to look elsewhere for a new head coach and coach Orgeron left to find a new head coaching job before their bowl game. USC will focus on slowing a Fresno State offense lead by senior quarterback Derek Carr that ranks first in the country in passing, third in total offense, and fifth in scoring. The Bulldogs won their conference and had a chance to go undefeated and play in a BCS bowl game until a 62-52 loss at San Diego State ended their chances. They will need to put the loss behind them and bounce back if they’re going to beat USC in this game. USC’s defense ranks 16th in the country giving up just 341 yards per game and just 214 yards allowed through the air. On the other side of the ball, USC’s offense has been much less strong. They’re averaging just 392 yards per game without star receiver Marqise Lee who missed three games this season. Running back Silas Redd likely won’t play with a knee injury but sophomore Javorius Allen has filled in nicely in his absence. The Trojan’s offense is going to need to play well against Fresno State because as strong as their defense has played, they won’t completely shut down Carr and the Bulldogs passing attack.
Fresno State vs USC NCAA Football Picks: Fresno State +7 and under 62
Fresno State vs USC Game Prediction: 31-28 USC
What to expect in the 2013 Las Vegas Bowl: Fresno State had much higher aspirations this season, but their core is still in tact and they will come to this game more ready to play than USC. The regime changes at USC will play a factor, players knowing they’re in for a complete overhaul during the offseason and this game is essentially meaningless for a USC team with much higher aspirations going forward. Their defense won’t be able to contain Carr and the Fresno offense for four quarters and their offense isn’t strong enough to cover a touchdown against a Fresno State team that is better from top to bottom.