For this week’s collegiate version of Friday Night Football, USC (2-1) is a 4-point home dog against #10 Utah (3-0) with the Trojans clawing their way back into the Top 25, while the Utes seek a big win to solidify their spot in the Top 10. In Mountain West conference action, Air Force (2-0) soaring high off an overtime upset over Colorado visit #20 Boise State (3-0) in a battle of unbeaten teams.
Utah started the season 3-0 before they face their first Pac-12 opponent with a game against USC at the LA Coliseum. A half-dozen Pac-12 schools have flirted with Top 25 rankings so far season. Last season, the Pac-12 struggled with a slew of mediocre teams. But everyone on the west coast is hoping this will finally be the year a Pac-12 teams returns to the Championship Bowl Series.
Utah is sitting pretty with a #10 ranking, but competition is fierce in the Top 10. Utah not only needs a win against USC, but the Utes need to beat the snot out of the Trojans if they want to dramatically move up the rankings.
Boise State is holding down #20 in the latest polls but faced only one legit opponent with a 5-point win over FSU. Meanwhile, Air Force is coming into Boise red-hot and flying high after an overtime victory over Colorado. Boise State will try to figure out how to stop a triple-option running threat that generates over 356 yards of offense.
Home Dog Alert: USC +4
USC, ranked #24 in preseason polls, lost to BYU in overtime 30-27 the opening week of the season. Freshman QB Kedon Slovis completed 70.6 percent of his passes for 281 yards and 2 touchdowns in the loss. The frosh also tossed three interceptions in his collegiate debut.
#10 Utah Utes (3-0) at USC Trojans (2-1)
Kickoff: 6:00pm PT
Location: LA Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles
Point Spread: Utah -4
Money Line: Utah -175 / USC +155
USC bounced back from the loss with a raucous victory in their first home game of the season. USC beat #23 Stanford 45-20 to get back on track. Last week, USC struggled to put away Fresno yet hung on for a 32-23 victory. A timely victory over Utah on Friday Night Football would put USC back into the Top 25, but it would also cause Utah to tumble out of the Top 10.
Utah whooped BYU last week 30-12, which was their only common opponent this season with USC.
Utah’s defense allowed only 29 points this season or less than 10 points per game. Then again, they didn’t exactly face offensive juggernauts in their first two games. Utah shutout Idaho State 31-0 in the opener, held Northern Illinois to 17 points. Utah finally faced a good offense last weekend, but they limited BYU to only 12 points. Fresh off the BYU win, Utah jumped from #14 to #10 in the polls.
Utah’s big threat is RB Zack Moss (4 TD), who already posted two 100-plus yard games this season. USC’s running threat hails from Hawaii. Vavae Malepeai (4 TD) averages 4.7 yards per carry. VavMal scored twice in a bounce-back win over Stanford two weeks ago.
Big Test in Boise
Air Force has a chip on their shoulder. Army has been getting all the love among the service academies, but Air Force is on a mission to prove all their detractors wrong. It began with a huge upset over Colorado in Boulder. Air Force beat the Buffs in overtime after they wore down Colorado’s line with the triple-option.
Air Force Falcons (2-0) at #20 Boise State Broncos (3-0)
Kickoff: 6pm PT
Location: Albertsons Stadium in Boise, Idaho
Point Spread: BSU -7
Money Line: BSU -270 / Air Force +230
Air Force and Boise State operate two contrasting offensive philosophies in this Friday Night Football matchup. Hank Bachmeier (4 TD) leads BSU’s aerial attack that averages 343 passing yards per game.
Air Force RB Kadin Remsberg averages 6.5 yards per attempt. He’s scored thrice this season so far including the game-winner against Colorado.
“People know us as hard workers and it’s true,” said Remsberg. “We’re going to get the work in. We are going to work our craft and we are going to come out and beat people.”
Boise State had two easy games in the last two weeks. They should have beaten Marshall by more than 14-7, yet they were happy to book the win. Last week, Boise State beatdown Portland State 45-10.
Boise State’s defense allows only 16 points per game. Their rush defense allowed only 108.7 yards per game. The Broncos run D will be tested against the low-flying triple attack from Air Force.