Sat, Dec 4
Fox Sports 1
8:00 PM Pacific
Rotation: 325
Odds: California -3, Total: 58

Game Analysis

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Note: I released Cal as a Best Bet on Monday morning when the Bears were favored by 3 points. The line has gone up and Cal would be considered a Strong Opinion from -4.5 to -5.5 points.

1-Star Best Bet – *CALIFORNIA (-3 -115)  34   Southern Cal   23

USC is not nearly as good as Cal and I think the line was low on this game because they’re USC and Cal is Cal. USC’s strength this season is an offense that’s been 0.4 yards per play better than average (6.0 yppl against teams that would allow 5.6 yppl to an average team) but the Bears are better offensively, averaging 6.4 yppl in 10 games with Chase Garbers at quarterback against teams that would allow 5.6 yppl. Cal’s offense was horrible last week at UCLA (just 217 yards at 3.4 yppl) but they had averaged 539 total yards at 8.0 yppl in the 3 previous games with Garbers behind center.

Cal should move the ball well against a bad USC defense that’s allowed 6.7 yppl to a schedule of teams that would combine to average 6.0 yppl against an average defense. The Trojans have yielded 6.5 yppl or more in 7 of their last 10 games, including each of their last 4 games and I expect Cal to approach 500 total yards in this game at over 7 yards per play.

I mentioned that USC’s offense had been 0.4 yppl better than average for the season but that unit has been worse than average in 3 games without Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year WR Drake London (pass attack has been 0.3 yards per pass play worse than average with Jaxson Dart at QB without London) and I expect top RB Keaontay Ingram to be out again this week. Ingram had 911 rush yards in 10 games at 5.8 ypr and backups Malepeai and Barlow have combined for just 4.3 ypr this season on 152 runs. I rate USC’s offense just 0.2 yppl better than average without London and they’d be 0.1 yppl worse than average if Ingram is out again (I suspect he’ll declare for the NFL draft rather than risk getting injured).

Cal’s defense would have the edge even if USC’s offense was at full strength, as the Bears have been 0.6 yppl better than average defensively this season (5.4 yppl allowed to teams that would combine to average 6.0 yppl against an average team) and they were actually 0.7 yppl better than average in last week’s blowout loss (6.2 yppl allowed to a UCLA offense that would average 6.9 yppl at home against an average team). I think the Bears will hold USC to around 5 yards per play if Ingram is out – although I’ll assume he plays.

USC’s defense allows big pass plays with regularity and tend to run significantly more plays than their opponents, but Cal should significantly outgain the Trojans despite running fewer plays. Neither team has much incentive with losses last week ending any bowl hopes for each team, but Cal is at home and that should be enough to get them to care more than the visiting Trojans. California is a 1-Star Best Bet at -4 points or less (Strong Opinion up to -5.5).

  • Team Stats
  • Game Log
  • USC
  • California


  • Run Plays 30.9 34.4
  • Run Yards 158.5 184.6
  • YPRP 5.1 5.4


  • Pass Comp 26.7 18.0
  • Pass Att 41.9 28.2
  • Comp % 63.8% 63.9%
  • Pass Yards 302.0 253.6
  • Sacks 1.6 1.7
  • Sack Yards 11.6 10.2
  • Sack % 3.6% 5.8%
  • Pass Plays 43.5 29.9
  • Net Pass Yards 290.5 243.5
  • YPPP 6.7 8.1


  • Total Plays 74.4 64.3
  • Total Yards 448.9 428.1
  • YPPL 6.0 6.7


  • Int 1.2 1.3
  • Int % 2.8% 4.5%
  • Fumbles 0.5 0.5
  • Turnovers 1.6 1.7
  • Points 30.0 32.5
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