College Football Picks, Predictions, and Previews: The Way It Oughtta Be

USC vs. UCLA 12/12/2020 College Football Picks, Prediction, and Preview

The USC visits UCLA on 12/12/2020 at 7:30PM.

USC and UCLA face off in an important game for both teams as every game in this shortened season with limited or no fans in attendance means more. USC has a record of 4-0 this season. UCLA is 3-2 this season. Both have players to meet and know.

USC Team Defense Preview

USC has had 44 defensive drives in non-garbage time minutes and they yield 5.2 plays per drive. Relatively speaking, USC is not a team that allows many plays per drive. This defense either gives up big plays quickly or induces a lot of three-and-outs, we shall find out more. USC has a generally average defense. Nothing too special about it, but they are capable of rising up when needed. Passing plays make up 53.28% of their opponents’ play calls.USC tends to face teams that prefer to air it out or opponents want to air it out against them.

USC is not doing anything particularly special as far as their ability to create negative yardage plays on the ground. Opponent rushing yards attributed to their offensive line this season comes out to 3.2 yards per carry. This defense lets offensive lines have too much control over them on the ground, too much push from the opposing offensive line. Running backs should look forward to this porous defense filled with poor tacklers who take terrible angles. They are capable of giving up a long run, which is really demoralizing when the opposing team has the ball deep in their own territory.

This Defense has had average success disrupting the flow of the opposing offense.. Getting more granual into the front seven and their ability to cause trouble, they are just average in this regard. USC has shown themselves to be better at stopping the pass than the run this season.

USC Team Offense Preview

USC has had 46 total drives this season and they generate 5.48 plays per drive. There is not much to take away here when it comes to how many plays per drive they run, but they are a team that falls in the average window when it comes to plays per drive. USC has shown a capability to be explosive on first and second down to avoid third downs and has converted well (relatively) on 3rd and 4th Down situations. Passing plays make up 59.13% of their play calls.This is an Air Raid Offense team, they are going to pass the ball a lot and running plays are only used to keep opponents honest.

USC struggles with running the ball, getting zero or negative yard plays is disspiriting and the offensive line is not effectively making a good push. Poor playcalling, pre-snap adjustments or post-snap reads may be responsible and this could fall on the Quarterback, Offensive Coordinator, and Head Coach. How effective is the offensive line given what we know about their ability to prevent negative yards on rushing plays? More than you think, thanks to the Adjusted Line Yards metric. USC can take credit for 2.43 yards per carry. So what does this mean? It means that the offensive line has been incredibly disappointing in their contribution to the ground game. This is also a team that is getting to the second-level in an average fashion. Offensive line and running backs are average in this regard. They feature a relatively average explosiveness in the running game, maybe there will be a breakout rushing play, but it is not something to count on from them.

Defenses have had average success disrupting the flow of the USC Offense. Front sevens of opposing defenses are causing a lot of problems. USC is a better passing team than running team this season.

UCLA Team Defense Preview

UCLA has had 62 total defensive drives this season and they yield 5.56 plays per drive. There is not much to take away here when it comes to how many plays per drive opponents run, but they are a team that falls in the average window when it comes to plays per drive. UCLA has shown an inability to stop defenses from converting on 4th Downs and they let opponents get into manageable 3rd Down situations where an RPO may be especially deadly. UCLA opponents pass the football 50.72% of the time.Opponents typically have some form of run/pass balance against them.

Defenses want to stop offenses from getting into a 3rd Down where the options are plentiful. Unfortunately, this defense is too porous to limit those choices. Opponent rushing yards attributed to their offensive line this season comes out to 3.05 yards per carry. This defense lets offensive lines have too much control over them on the ground, too much push from the opposing offensive line. This is also a team that is allowing running backs and quarterbacks to get to the second-level in an average fashion. The breakout rushing plays are simply not happening, it is a massive reach to expect this team to give up big rushing plays.

This Defense has had average success disrupting the flow of the opposing offense.. Getting more specific, this front seven is a cause of a lot of headaches for offenses. They may be good enough to cause trouble in pass rush with just four rushers!UCLA has shown themselves to be better at stopping the pass than the run this season.

UCLA Team Offense Preview

UCLA has had 59 drives in non-garbage time minutes and they average 5.83 plays per drive. UCLA runs a lot of plays per drive and this could wear an opposing defense down. UCLA has shown a capability to be explosive on first and second down to avoid third downs and has converted well (relatively) on 3rd and 4th Down situations. UCLA passes the football 42.15% of the time.They favor running the ball as opposed airing it out.

UCLA is not doing anything particularly special as far as their ability to avoid negative yardage plays on the ground. How effective is the offensive line given what we know about their ability to prevent negative yards on rushing plays? More than you think, thanks to the Adjusted Line Yards metric. UCLA can take credit for 3.11 yards per carry. This offensive line may be underappreciated, even though the running backs get the attention. The UCLA coaching staff really deserves credit for how they prepared this offensive line, but they could be a little bit better! The offensive line and running back corps deserve a lot of credit for gashing defenses with their running game like the way they have this season. They are capable of busting out a long run, which is really good when the team has the ball in their own territory.

Defenses have had trouble making big, disruptive plays against UCLA this season. There has been a relatively good job done by this Offensive Line to prevent opposing front sevens from causing problems consistently. UCLA has shown themselves to be a better running team than passing team this season.

The USC Roster

The Players to Watch for USC

Kedon Slovis QB 6-2 200

This season, Kedon Slovis has put up 1257 yards and 10 touchdowns. He has thrown 2 interceptions. He has a QB Rating of 153.7thus far this season. Kedon Slovis has thrown 2 interceptions this season.As a rusher, Kedon Slovis has -19.0 rushing yards, which puts him in the 8.8 percentile among Quarterbacks. He ran the ball as opposed to throwing the ball 16.0 times this season, which puts him in the 48.15 percentile. Has he hit paydirt as a runner? He has 0.0 rushing touchdowns this season.

Markese Stepp RB 6-0 235

This season, Markese Stepp has 138 rushing yards on 31 carries. Was he able to get to the end zone on the ground? He has 2 rushing touchdowns.As a receiver in the backfield, Markese Stepp picked up 28 yards. He caught the ball as opposed to taking handoffs or catching laterals 3 times this season. Did he score often as a receiver? He had 0 receiving touchdowns this season.

Amon-Ra St. Brown WR 6-1 195

This season, Amon-Ra St. Brown picked up 331 yards. He caught the ball 26 times this season. Did he score often as a receiver? He had 4 receiving touchdowns this season.

Marlon Tuipulotu DL 6-3 305.0

The leading tackler among Defensive Ends for USC, Marlon Tuipulotu has 20 tackles this season. He was able to keep rushers back and penetrate the offensive line with 4 tackles for loss, which puts him in the 82.04 percentile among Defensive Ends. When it came to rushing the Quarterback, he has been able to take them down 2 times this season, which put him in the 80.93 percentile among all Defensive Ends in College Football. He has forced 1 fumbles this season.

Talanoa Hufanga S 6-1 215.0

He is the leading tackler among non-exclusive Defensive Backs (meaning he can play either Safety Position, Nickel Back, Star or even play as a Cornerback in coverage) for USC, Talanoa Hufanga had 33 tackles which puts him in the 82.65 percentile among returning non-exclusive Defensive Backs. He was able to keep rushers and receivers back on screens with 2 tackles for loss this season, which puts him in the 86.1 percentile among Secondary position players. When it came to blitzing the Quarterback, this season he was able to take them down 1 times this season. Talanoa Hufanga as a ball hawker was able to pick off 3 passes this season, which puts him in the 98.17 percentile among returning secondary position players this season.

Chris Steele CB 6-1 190

Considered the leading tackler among Cornerbacks for USC, Chris Steele had 14 tackles which puts him in the 61.19 percentile among Corners. He was able to keep rushers and receivers back on screens with 0 tackles for loss this season, which puts him in the 34.7 percentile among Corners. When it came to blitzing the Quarterback, this season he was able to take them down 0 times this season. Chris Steele as a ball hawker was able to pick off 1 passes this season, which puts him in the 81.59 percentile among Corners this season.

The UCLA Roster

The Players to Watch for UCLA

Dorian Thompson-Robinson QB 6-1 200

This season, Dorian Thompson-Robinson has put up 691 yards and 8 touchdowns. He has thrown 2 interceptions. He has a QB Rating of 147.2thus far this season. Dorian Thompson-Robinson has thrown 2 interceptions this season.As a rusher, Dorian Thompson-Robinson has 210.0 rushing yards, which puts him in the 87.04 percentile among Quarterbacks. He ran the ball as opposed to throwing the ball 36.0 times this season, which puts him in the 70.99 percentile. Has he hit paydirt as a runner? He has 3.0 rushing touchdowns this season.

Demetric Felton RB 5-10 200

This season, Demetric Felton has 578 rushing yards on 111 carries. Was he able to get to the end zone on the ground? He has 5 rushing touchdowns.As a receiver in the backfield, Demetric Felton picked up 112 yards. He caught the ball as opposed to taking handoffs or catching laterals 17 times this season. Did he score often as a receiver? He had 1 receiving touchdowns this season.

Kyle Phillips WR 5-11 184

This season, Kyle Phillips picked up 246 yards. He caught the ball 23 times this season. Did he score often as a receiver? He had 1 receiving touchdowns this season.

Osa Odighizuwa DL 6-2 279.0

The leading tackler among Defensive Ends for UCLA, Osa Odighizuwa has 26 tackles this season. He was able to keep rushers back and penetrate the offensive line with 6 tackles for loss, which puts him in the 90.39 percentile among Defensive Ends. When it came to rushing the Quarterback, he has been able to take them down 4 times this season, which put him in the 93.64 percentile among all Defensive Ends in College Football. He has forced 0 fumbles this season.

Stephan Blaylock DB 5-10 185.0

He is the leading tackler among non-exclusive Defensive Backs (meaning he can play either Safety Position, Nickel Back, Star or even play as a Cornerback in coverage) for UCLA, Stephan Blaylock had 34 tackles which puts him in the 83.93 percentile among returning non-exclusive Defensive Backs. He was able to keep rushers and receivers back on screens with 0 tackles for loss this season, which puts him in the 31.97 percentile among Secondary position players. When it came to blitzing the Quarterback, this season he was able to take them down 0 times this season. Stephan Blaylock as a ball hawker was able to pick off 1 passes this season, which puts him in the 83.84 percentile among returning secondary position players this season.

USC vs. UCLA Prediction, Picks, and Odds


Prediction: USC 41 UCLA 26

Spread Pick: USC -2.5 -111 Pinnacle Sports
Moneyline Pick: USC -130 5Dimes
Total Pick: Over 62 -105 Pinnacle Sports