While the game was initially slated to be contested on Friday night, No. 20 USC and Washington State will now meet one another on Sunday evening in order to give the Trojans more time for players who have been sidelined due to COVID-19 protocols to return. It will be a long-awaited return to the field for both programs after they have each dealt with interruptions because of the virus.
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Date: Sunday, Dec. 6 | Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum — Los Angeles
TV: FS1 | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
Washington State at USC prediction, picks
Latest Odds: Trojans -11.5
USC last played two weeks ago when it beat Utah 33-17 to improve to 3-0. The Trojans were scheduled to play against Colorado last week, but that game was canceled when USC was forced to pause football activities due to COVID-19 issues. Washington State (1-1) last played Nov. 14, when it lost 43-29 to Oregon, so the Cougars have missed two games in a Pac-12 season already shortened dramatically due to the pandemic.
These teams do not play annually since they are in opposite divisions, but they have traded victories in their last four games dating back to 2013, with USC winning the last meeting 39-36 in 2018. Three of those four most-recent games have been decided by just a field goal, but the Trojans are favored by 13 points this time around.
Washington State: Quarterback Jayden de Laura became the first freshman in program history to start a season opener, and he’s provided some early excitement in the Nick Rolovich era. Rolovich brought his Run and Shoot system to Washington State when Mike Leach departed, and it worked out of the gate as the Cougars knocked off Oregon State in their opener. Wazzu lost 43-29 to Oregon three weeks ago in its last game, but that was largely because the defense allowed 581 yards.
USC: After dramatic victories over Arizona State and Arizona to start the season, the Trojans handled Utah 33-17 two weeks ago. But they are fortunate to be 3-0. The offense has come up clutch in key moments, but offensive coordinator Graham Harrell’s Air Raid attack hasn’t hit its stride just yet. Ultimately, though, a win here would go a long way toward advancing the Trojans to a division title and an appearance the league title game. At No. 20, a College Football Playoff appearance seems unlikely for USC even if the Trojans manage to go undefeated.
It would be easy to look at USC’s 33-17 win over Utah on Nov. 21 and think the Trojans turned a corner in a double-digit win over the defending division title winners. But Utah is replacing almost its entire defense and was playing its first game of the year. Washington State has beaten a decent Oregon State team and played Oregon close. The Cougars have the firepower to cover this spread and potentially to win the game. Pick: Washington State (+13)