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USC won't be satisfied with another 11-2

Aug 5, 2008 7:08 PM

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the seventh in a 10-week series that runs through Aug. 26 focusing on season openers, betting strengths and weaknesses among college football’s premier conferences. So clip and save.

by Mark Mayer | Many thought Southern Cal should have been a part of the national title game last year and not LSU. This season, the Trojans have 12 games to prove it.

 Again we will introduce one "100 percent trend" per school, courtesy of Mark Lawrence’s popular Black Book, and when you can apply it. Plus, we’ll be taking notes.

USC (11-2 SU, 7-6 ATS): The Trojans were just 4-5 ATS in conference play, including losses to Stanford and Oregon. No. 1 talk could quickly cease with a loss Sept. 13 to Ohio State. The 100 percenter: USC is 6-0 ATS off a bye facing a nonconference team. This happens twice: Against the Buckeyes and Nov. 29 against Notre Dame, both at the famed LA Coliseum.

Arizona (5-7, 6-5): Last year, the Wildcats scored 30 or more five times. What needs to improve is a 1-5 record on the road and a 0 edge in takeaways. The 100 percenter: Zona is 0-15 ATS as home favorites of 4-21 points. That should apply in the Oct. 25 clash against Oregon.

Wash St. (5-7, 6-6): For sure, the Cougars need to take care of business in the league, going just 3-6 SU last year and improving upon a -4 turnover ratio. The 100 percenter: WSU is 4-0 ATS in the game prior to facing Cal. That means the Aug. 30 opener with Oklahoma St.

Washington (4-9, 6-7): It would be nice to see the Huskies return to glory under Ty Willingham, one of the class coaches in the NCAA. The 3-6 ATS mark in the league must change. The 100 percenter: The dog in the Arizona series is 10-0. That should be the Huskies on Oct. 4 in Tucson.

California (7-6, 4-9): The Bears were less than Golden in ’07, going a disappointing 2-7 ATS in league play. Much more was expected than a -1 turnover ratio. The 100 percenter: Ted Tedford’s teams are 6-0 ATS as a road dog of 7½ or more. That could be Nov. 8 at USC.

Stanford (4-8, 5-7): Last year, the Cardinal were held to 24 or less nine times, which explains a 9-3 record to the under. The 100 percenter: Stanford is 4-0 ATS in the game following UCLA. This season, that’s a home game Nov. 1 with Washington St.

Oregon (9-4, 9-4): The Ducks were outstanding outside the league, going 4-0 ATS with a standout turnover ratio of +12. Oregon also was a spread beater at 9-4. The 100 percenter: The favorite in the Washington series is 5-0. The line now favors Oregon by 14 in the Aug. 30 opener.

Oregon St. (9-4, 7-4): Last year, the Beavers defeated Maryland in a bowl and were 4-1 ATS at home in Corvallis, always a tough place to play. The 100 percenter: The Beavers are 6-0 ATS the game after playing Washington St. That would be Oct. 18 at Washington.

Arizona St. (10-3, 7-6): The Sun Devils were great as a favorite (8-1 SU, 5-0 at home) but allowed a 7-1 ATS mark to evaporate with five straight spread losses. The 100 percenter: ASU is 0-8 ATS as road dogs of 18 or less and with revenge. That scenario could be Oct. 11 at USC, which defeated the Sun Devils last year by 20.

UCLA (6-7, 9-4): UCLA was 7-2 ATS in Pac 10 action and 5-1 at the Rose Bowl. Several potential starting QBs were hurt in spring practice for first-year coach Rick Neuheisel. Fortunately, Ben Olson was cleared for fall practice. The 100 percenter: UCLA is 0-6 ATS as faves of 22 or less vs. a .400 or lower foe. That may be Oct. 18 at home against Stanford.

Next week: The SEC.