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No. 19 Utah Hosts No. 20 Southern Cal

Cody Kessler and the USC Trojans will look to earn a big road win in Salt Lake City.

Cody Kessler and the USC Trojans will look to earn a big road win in Salt Lake City.

Ranked sides collide Saturday night as No. 19 Utah hosts No. 20 Southern California in a battle of division rivals.

Kickoff at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City is scheduled for 10:00 p.m. ET.

The showdown in the state capital will likely bring with it an end to one team’s hopes of earning a shot at the Pac-12 championship. But which team will leave on the losing end?

The Story So Far

Southern California (5-2, 4-1 Pac-12) entered the season in the bookmaker’s top 10, but has done little to impress since.

The Trojans somehow managed to avoid defeat at Stanford on September 6, despite being offensively shackled. The result was all that mattered though and the team moved forward looking to improve.

A road loss to Boston College the following week was major cause for concern, as was a home loss to Arizona State three weeks later. The Trojans sat at 3-2 and looked like a shell of the team that was supposed to compete.

Things have picked up over the past two weeks, with the Trojans scoring a good road win over then-No. 10 Arizona, before steamrolling Colorado last weekend.

With two losses on the season, Steve Sarkisian’s side is out of the hunt for the national championship – there’s simply no way the College Football Playoff committee is going to back a two-loss Pac-12 team, regardless of how the team fairs between now and the middle of December. However, the Trojans still have a legitimate shot at the Pac-12 title.

Utah (5-1, 2-1 Pac-12) has been something of a surprise package this campaign, and enters Saturday’s game with a superior record to its opponent.

The Utes earned what appeared to be a big win in Week 4, defeating Michigan 26-10 in Ann Arbor. While the Wolverines may not look like such a good scalp now, you could argue that it was that result that really sent the team down a greasy pole.

After a disappointing loss to Washington State saw the Utes yield a 21-point advantage, Kyle Whittingham’s side picked up another big win on October 4, upsetting then-No. 8 ranked UCLA on the road. A win last weekend over Oregon State saw Utah move to 5-1.

The Pac-12 Landscape

While the Pac-12 North Division looks like a two-horse race between Stanford and Oregon, the South Division is up for grabs.

Four of the division’s six teams enter play this weekend with just one conference loss. With Arizona and Arizona State both up in the Pacific Northwest this weekend, that number may only fall to three this weekend, but it’s certain that either the Trojans or Utes will finish Week 9 with two conference losses, and likely out of contention.

With its highest AP ranking since the 2010 season, Utah would love to hand Southern California another loss and continue to march on. History doesn’t favor that result though.


Southern California has dominated the all-time series, winning seven of eight head-to-head clashes.

Utah’s sole win in the series came in the Las Vegas Bowl on Christmas Day in 2001.

Southern California has won three straight, coinciding with Utah’s arrival in the Pac-12, and is 1-0 at Rice-Eccles Stadium.

Injury Report

Southern California wide receiver Ajene Harris is questionable with a hamstring injury. Defensive back Josh Shaw (suspension) is out indefinitely.

For Utah, defensive back Tevin Carter (undisclosed) and tight end Evan Moeai (knee) are both listed as questionable. Linebacker Jacoby Hale (knee) is out indefinitely.

Check out the full injury list

Can Devontae Booker and the Utes' running game stifle the Trojans?

Can Devontae Booker and the Utes’ running game stifle the Trojans?

Betting Report

Below you’ll find Betting Sports’ breakdown of odds and betting trends.

Southern California Trojans vs. Utah Utes odds for 10/25/2014

Moneyline: The moneyline for this one remained off the board for an extended period this week, with bookmakers paying close attention to how this unpredictable matchup might pay out. Eventually, Southern California (-115) emerged as a very narrow favorite over Utah (-105).

Utah will look to buck the trend and earn its first Pac-12 win over Southern California, a result that would send fans in Salt Lake City into a fervor.

Spread: In this pick’em matchup, the spread opened even but has been adjusted to slightly favor Southern California.

Both the Trojans (5-2-0 ATS) and Utes (5-1-0 ATS) have fared well against the spread so far this season.

The two schools have shared the wealth when it comes to covering the spread in recent meeting, each recording a 2-2-0 ATS record over the last four.

Total: The total opened at 56.

Southern California (4-3-0 O/U) has flip-flopped the over/under this season. If you follow that trend, the under should pay out in this one.

Meanwhile, Utah (2-4-0 O/U) has favored the under. The under has paid out in four straight games involving the Utes. Looking back further, five of the Utes’ last seven at home have seen the under pay out.


For a comprehensive list of College Football odds, click here.

Up-to-date College Football Futures can be found here.

A selection of team prop bets can be found here.

A selection of player prop bets can be found here.

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