USC vs Utah Pac-12 Championship Prediction Game Preview

USC vs Utah Pac-12 Championship prediction, game preview, odds, how to watch. Championship Week, Friday, December 2

USC vs Utah Pac-12 Championship Prediction Game Preview

Contact/Follow @ColFootballNews & @PeteFiutak

USC vs Utah Pac-12 Championship How To Watch

Date: Friday, December 2
Game Time: 8:00 ET
Venue: Allegiant Stadium, Las Vegas, NV
How To Watch: FOX
Record: USC (11-1), Utah (9-3)
Sign up and live stream college football on ESPN+

Why Utah Will Win

How did the Utes do it the first time around?

They got down big early, rallied back, and rallied again with Cameron Rising running for a touchdown and the two in the final minute to beat USC 43-42 in one of the best games of the college football season.

The running game is going to continue to be a problem for the Trojans. They held up relatively well, but allowed over four yards per carry to go along with the 424 yards from Rising.

The Utah offense should be good for at least 400 yards – even if it doesn’t get to the 562 that were the most allowed by the Trojans all year – with the versatility to do whatever it wants.

Defensively, the Utes haven’t allowed more than 70 rushing yards in four of the last five games, and USC doesn’t have Travis Dye, who led the way with 76 yards in the first meeting.

Let Caleb Williams get his yards, accept that there will be a few explosive plays, and then let the offense do the work. Every third down stop and every empty USC possession will mean everything.

The pressure is ALL on the other side of the field. Utah is in the Rose Bowl with a win, and it’s probably in the Alamo if it loses. On the other side, USC has the College Football Playoff right there for the taking.

Bowl Projections | Bowl Bubble: Who’s Bowl Eligible?

Why USC Will Win

USC had them.

It got up fast on Utah, got up late, and it couldn’t hang on against a strong team in one of the tougher environments in college football.

But it was on the road.

Utah managed to beat Washington State, but it’s 1-3 this year away from Salt Lake City against teams that finished with a winning record after going 1-4 last year against the good opponents that didn’t come to Rice-Eccles.

Yeah, that one win last year was over Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship, but the Utes had that team’s number. USC has a much, much better quarterback situation and even more firepower.

It’s not like Utah stopped the Trojan attack that rolled up 556 yards of total offense. It came up big when it had to, but Caleb Williams got off that field thinking he let one slip away.

There’s a reason he’s – probably – about to win the Heisman Trophy. Over the last three weeks he’s hitting even bigger shots down the field, he has been even more accurate, and he took his game up a few notches in the biggest games of the year. He’s handled the stress fine so far.

Yeah, the pressure is on, but there’s a way to tone that down – rely on the run defense.

The USC D might have been pounded on earlier in the year, and UCLA cranked up 204 yards, but the defense held up better over the last month, it rose up against the Notre Dame running game, and …

Championship Week Schedule, Game Previews

What’s Going To Happen

Utah is going to get its yards.

The USC defensive front seemed to accept the challenge of the moment last week, but the secondary has crashed allowing over 300 yards in five of the last six games.

However, the D continues to make up for its issues with lots and lots of takeaways. The five saved the day against UCLA, the two against Notre Dame mattered, and overall the team is a whopping +24 in turnover margin.

Utah will get up fast and look like it’s in control, but Williams and the Trojans will creep on back before taking over midway through the second half after the team calms down and settles in.

It’s not going to be as much fun as the first time around, but it’ll be a blast.

One way or another, the College Football Playoff will probably be settled before Saturday.

Expert Picks College Championship WeekNFL Week 13

USC vs Utah Pac-12 Championship Prediction, Line

USC 38, Utah 34
Line: USC -2.5, o/u: 66.5
ATS Confidence out of 5: 2
USC vs Utah Pac-12 Championship Must See Rating (out of 5): 5
Utah vs USC Experts Picks

CFN 1-131 Rankings | Rankings by Conference
Path to the Playoff: 6 teams still in the race 

Bowl Projections | Rankings

Story originally appeared on College Football News