CFB: Ohio State at USC (8:00 PM ET, ABC)

CFB: Ohio State at USC (8:00 PM ET, ABC)
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CFB: Ohio State at USC (8:00 PM ET, ABC)

It's finally here, the most anticipated matchup in years in September, with one university eventually being the team of the decade for the excellence they have shown on the football field


It's finally here, the most anticipated matchup in years in September, with one university eventually being the team of the decade for the excellence they have shown on the football field. Yet for all the hype, the home favorite is now an 11.5-point pick. If Florida went to Georgia, do you think they would be a double digit underdog? This needs a little further investigation to understand what the "Collision in the Coliseum" is all about.

When USC took the field at Virginia, QB Mark Sanchez had more giddy-up than a racehorse making a stretch run. If became readily apparent why the junior signal caller wanted to take the field so bad, these Trojans are loaded. USC gained 558 yards of offense with a stable of running backs deeper than Calumet Farms in Kentucky. Four different backs, with Joe McKnight and CJ Gable being the more familiar names, galloped for 5.3 yards per carry on 41 attempts. ONLY nine different receivers caught passes for USC, totaling 340 yards, giving new meaning to diversity on the Trojans campus in 52-7 destruction.

It is no wonder Pete Carroll has become a favorite among sports bettors, sporting 77-14 record in Los Angeles, with 55-36 (60.4 percent) ATS record in his eighth season. Jim Tressel can hang with Carroll record-wise at 75-16, but is a pauper comparatively against the spread at 46-38-1, 54.7 percent.

Ohio State was sharp in opener and duller then Lindsey Lohan commenting on Republican VP Sarah Palin against Ohio U. at Columbus last week. Are roving friends at The Platinum Sheet have seen Buckeyes practices and both games and are convinced this is the best, most complete Ohio State team of the Jim Tressel sleeveless sweater-era. One theme among the folks we spoke to that have followed and wagered on Ohio State (for and against keep in mind), is the positive cockiness needed to be a champion. How this team carries itself is more reminiscent of the Woody Hayes days and the best of John Cooper years, when Ohio State always believed they were the best team, even if the opponent was lucky enough to beat them. This 2008 team is reportedly a modern version, having the Tressel coolness and a certain detachment of arrogance.

USC loves the big stage and embraces it under Carroll. Since getting everything in order in his second year in 2002, Carroll's teams are 27-2 straight up in non-conference games (includes bowls), with 21-8 ATS record. The Men of Troy are 22-2 SU and 18-6 ATS taking on ranked teams since halfway thru 2002 campaign.

When Ohio State has been under the bright lights in recent years, they have shriveled up like a 99 cents per pound steak on the grill (Other than Michigan games). Undoubtedly, oddsmakers have taken this into account. The presumed loss of Beanie Wells makes the Ohio State running appear very ordinary. The actual strength of the USC defense is the back seven, further complicating the Buckeyes methods of attacking USC. On the positive side, the team with the buckeye leaves is 13-3 ATS on the road against team with winning record and is 5-1 against the spread after accumulating 275 or less yards of offense. has USC as 11.5-point favorite with Total at 44.5. The Trojans are 7-0 UNDER in home games after playing their last game on the road and Ohio State is 9-3 UNDER in last dozen affairs in September.

USC is 10-2 ATS as favorite at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum on Carroll's watch versus ranked teams, with Ohio State12-4 ATS in non-conference regular season games versus BCS schools.

Brent, Kirk and many others will be on this ABC telecast starting at 8 Eastern.

StatFox Forecaster USC covers

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