Menu Close

Nate’s Pick: PAC12 Championship Edition

The Odds






#11 Utah Utes






#4 USC Trojans






The Details

Kickoff: Friday, December 3, at Allegiant Stadium - Las Vegas, NV

When: 8:00 pm EST

How to Watch: FOX

Public Bets: USC, 77%

Public Money: USC, 72%

All odds courtesy of DraftKings, as of 12/3

The Word

A Friday night showcase for the PAC12 Championship is just what we needed to keep out degenerate juices flowing. We've all had time to rest and recover after a wild day of matches in the World Cup, but now we're onto the nightcap game.

This game is a rematch of a game Utah won on 10/15. It was a wild game from start-to-finish as Utah got down to a big deficit early and then rallied to get back into the game. Finally, Utah converted a two-point conversion to win the game in regulation and avoid forcing overtime. The final tally for that game was 43-42.

So, are we looking at another wild shootout that's decided in the last minute or will Utah learn from mistakes made early in their last matchup and try something a little bit different.

Keep reading for my harried thoughts on this matchup and what I think you should expect.

USC Trojans

Classic Lincoln Riley

This is basically what anyone who has watched college football for any length of time thought would probably happen when USC snagged Lincoln Riley as their head coach.

The offense is absolutely prodigious. Caleb Williams hit the portal to transfer out of Oklahoma, so Riley got the guy he'd wanted, and it has paid off in sunny L.A. Williams is the presumptive favorite to be hoisting the Heisman Trophy and another solid performance here would almost certainly lock it up.

The offensive line play hasn't been great, but Williams is so elusive that it doesn't matter. The man absolutely produces and doesn't turn the ball over.

This is a recipe for success on offense.

The defense has been bad, and will likely continue to be.

USC is content to get in a shootout and their inflated turnover ratio, where they are +22, is a bit of an aberration considering that Williams has only thrown 3 INTs all season. It's easy to be in the plus-column when your quarterback is basically never turning it over.


Utah Utes

Slow and steady wins the race

This is a team that is just good. Better than their record indicates.

Cam Rising quarterbacks an incredibly efficient offense. Football Outsiders ranks them as 17th overall, and most of their underlying metrics individually are in the top-10. They've struggled with turnovers, which is the only reason their overall number isn't higher.

The defense is also good, particularly in coverage where PFF grades them out in the top-25. This will be useful against Caleb Williams.


The Pick

We ride with the Utes

I like the Utes to get another win here. They've proven that the can beat them before, and I think they can do it again.

Some things have changed since they last met, notably that USC is leaning a little bit more on the run game, which may slow down the tempo.

USC hasn't shown that they can stop anybody from running or passing to any significant degree so Utah should be able to dictate how this game plays out with their offense.

I suspect they have learned from sins of the past where they let the game get a little bit out of control early before buckling down and putting together some strong drives.

What I'm looking for here is for Utah to try and control the game a little bit more  with longer drives to keep USC and their Heisman favorite QB off the field as much as possible. The Ute defense should be able to handle itself here as well.

The Utes are going to be the first winner that will cause CFP chaos this weekend by knocking off USC for the PAC 12 Championship.


Nate's Pick

Utah +2.5, under 67.5


  • Nate Perry, Senior Analyst #NoPickNate

    Nate Perry is a career college educator and literary writer who tends bar to get the inside scoop on sports. He makes his living in hardscrabble downtown Reno, Nevada. A sports handicapper by trade, Nate is legendary at the sportsbook in Reno. If you can gamble on it, chances are Nate has tried his hand at it. He's a former fiction writer who has turned to writing about sports in a desperate bid to get published, much to the chagrin of nearly everyone around him. He is featured here with his extremely large dog, Boatswain.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *