Arizona vs. USC: Pac-12 Showdown Featuring Caleb Williams


Oct 4, 2023

At 10:30 p.m. ET out west, and fans are gearing up for a marquee matchup between Arizona and USC. The current line is a hefty 21.5, reminiscent of what we saw with the Colorado Buffaloes last week. With an over/under set at a staggering 71.5, this game promises to be a high-scoring affair. The big question looming is: while we acknowledge USC’s potent offense, can their defense step up against Arizona and for the rest of the season?

Having been bullish on USC for the past two years, our optimism waned this year due to concerns about their defense. The hope was for a much-improved defensive unit under the guidance of Alex Grinch for his second year as an assistant. However, the performance doesn’t match the expectations. Analyzing their last game against Colorado, there are two possible narratives:

  1. USC’s defense, despite its talent, allowed 40 points against a team that, on paper, shouldn’t be a match for them.

  2. With a lead of 48-14 by midway through the third quarter, USC might have become complacent, allowing Colorado to claw back.

While the latter paints a less alarming picture, we believe the issues with USC’s defense are more deep-rooted than just one off-game. If not addressed, an upset might be around the corner.

However, is Arizona equipped to exploit these vulnerabilities on the road? The scenario changes depending on the circumstances. Arizona’s offense, known for its quick scoring ability, can be a handful for many teams. 

There’s potential for Arizona to keep up with USC in a shootout, especially if they get their passing game going early. We’d be inclined to take the points with Arizona. While dominant in the first halves of games this season, USC has tended to relax in the latter stages. Betting on USC? It might be safer to look at their performance in the first half, as that’s where they’ve shown their strength.

While this approach might have worked against teams like Colorado, they can’t be too complacent, especially with teams that have the firepower to capitalize on any defensive lapses.

In conclusion, while USC has been impressive in spurts, their defensive concerns make this matchup with Arizona all the more intriguing. Whether they can hold onto leads late into games remains a question. For fans and bettors alike, this late-night showdown promises excitement, suspense, and plenty of scoring.

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Thumbnail photo via John Leyba-USA TODAY Sports

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