USC is not be ranked anymore, but it will still be one of the last major tests for No. 6 Oregon when the Trojans come to town Saturday (11/11/23) at 10:30 p.m. EST. Get USC vs. Oregon predictions and best bets below as our best bet is Oregon -14.5.
USC vs. Oregon Prediction
It was jarring to see Caleb Williams crying in the stands after USC’s hard-fought loss to Washington. Whether you think it was a “soft” display or a testament to his love for the game, it signaled the same thing. The end of an era for USC. Williams is expected be the top pick in the upcoming NFL Draft, meaning that he’s leaving Los Angeles with no conference championships and no College Football Playoff appearances. A Heisman Trophy is no small prize, but all great competitors want to win as a team, and Williams wasn’t able to get his team to the top.
Will Williams and the Trojans be too dejected to put up a good fight in a very tough road environment? Or will they be fired up to go out with a bang and play spoiler against one of the best teams in the country. Oregon leads the nation in net success rate and yards per play. The Ducks are second in total EPA per play with a stellar figure of +0.44. Oregon has done it with not only the nation’s second-most efficient offense by EPA, but the No. 14 defense as well.
This isn’t the early 2010s Oregon, which hid its lack of substance in the trenches and on the defensive end behind a facade of speedy skill players and colorful uniform combinations. This is one of the country’s best teams from top to bottom. Dan Lanning should be very proud of what he’s helped to build in just two seasons in Eugene. As Williams’ Heisman repeat campaign has faded, Oregon QB Bo Nix has surged to the forefront of the race as the second favorite behind Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. At some books, Nix is the co-favorite.
USC is still one of the nations’s best offenses. The Trojans ripped Washington’s solid defense for 42 points, hung 50 on Cal and 32 on a very solid defensive Utah team. They’re fifth in the country in EPA per play, and should be unlike anything Oregon has seen, outside of the Washington game, in which they allowed 36 points to the Huskies.
The issue for the Trojans is that defense, which ranks a disgusting 121st in EPA per play. Letting Alex Grinch go was a big step in the right direction, but we won’t see the results just yet. Oregon is going to be able to pick a number and put it on the scoreboard. This game has the ability to be full of points, but we’re taking Oregon on the spread instead of the over due to the questions around Williams being fully or partially shut down. The Ducks should cover either way, whether or not USC tries its hardest for four quarters.
USC vs. Oregon Prediction: Oregon -14.5
USC vs. Oregon Best Odds
Public money is steaming toward the Ducks, but you can still find them at -14.5. They’re -850 on the moneyline compared to +570 for USC, while the sky-high total of 73.5 has -110 odds on either side.
USC vs. Oregon Key Matchups
Every meeting between two of the country’s top five offenses is a special one. As one of the last editions of Pac-12 after dark, this one is no exception. Amazingly, Oregon grades better than USC in the air game while the Trojans excel on the ground, so let’s see how those trends play out in this one.
USC Ground Game vs. Oregon Run Defense
Williams and the USC air offense have been talked to death. But with questions surrounding his mindset and even availability for this one, let’s talk about a USC run game that has been incredibly efficient, yet completely underutilized. They’re third in EPA per play and fifth in success rate on rushing snaps, yet 118th in run plays per game. That’s perhaps due in part to a desire to take advantage of Williams’s tremendous passing talent. MarShawn Lloyd has been fantastic as he’s scored eight times and averaged 7.7 yards per carry, while Austin Jones has been an excellent alternate back.
Oregon’s run defense is solid but not hyper-elite at 35th in the nation in EPA per play. Opponents are averaging just 3.2 yards per carry against the Ducks, as well as less than 100 yards and less than half a touchdown per game. Anchored by D-lineman Taki Taimani, this is a deep group with contributors at all levels. Still, this will be by far the best rushing attack the Ducks have faced so far, so it will be interesting to see how they hold up.
Oregon Passing Attack vs. USC Air Defense
Nix has been a leader for this Oregon passing offense, which ranks fifth in the country in EPA per play, but he’s far from alone. The Ducks O-line ranks first in PFF’s pass blocking grade, and Troy Franklin is approaching 1,000 yards on the season with 10 scores already.
USC’s pass defense has been problematic to say the least, ranking 119th in the nation in EPA per play. The secondary has been most of the problem. According to PFF, they have the country’s 20th-best pass rush, which could be a route to success against the Ducks. Led by Jamil Muhammad with six sacks and Solomon Byrd with five, this group could put some heat on Nix and make things interesting in Eugene.