With about a third of the college football season finished, there is a Pac-12 contest between two extremely talented teams. The USC Trojans are currently undefeated and are the fifth ranked team in the country according to the latest AP poll. Joining them in the AP poll is none other than the Washington State Cougars who are also undefeated and are the sixteenth ranked team in the country according to the AP poll. Both teams entered the season with high hopes and a win here could help propel either team to a Pac-12 championship.
The USC Trojans entered the season in the AP poll top five and were expected to compete for a national championship. So far this season, the Trojans are 4-0 and look poised to turn the championship expectation into a reality. However, despite being undefeated, the Trojans have struggled against weaker competition this season. In two of their four games, the Trojans had to rally in the second half in order to keep their undefeated record intact. USC cannot afford to fall behind this Washington State team whose offense will make it extremely difficult for the Trojans to come back.
USC’s offense is led by star quarterback Sam Darnold. Last season, Darnold threw for 31 touchdowns and over 3000 yards. Darnold was the catalyst for the Rose Bowl victory over Penn State as he threw for over 450 yards and five touchdowns. However, Darnold has had some turnover issues this season. Against Western Michigan, Darnold threw two interceptions along with zero touchdowns. Darnold did manage to rebound against Stanford as he threw for four touchdowns but then the issues returned against Texas and he threw another two interceptions. If Darnold plays up to his potential, he is arguably the best quarterback in the country. However, he is going up against a stout defensive unit on the road so an elite performance looks rather doubtful. Having said that, if Darnold can limit the turnovers and keep the time of possession in USC’s favor, the Trojans will still have a great shot at winning this contest.
The slight underdog in this contest is Washington State. The Cougars have looked extremely solid this season and have defeated three of their four opponents by at least 29 points. However, their undefeated season was in serious jeopardy in week two when they trailed rival Boise State by 21 points in the fourth quarter. However, the Cougars managed to rally and beat the Broncos 47-44 in triple overtime. That near-defeat was the wakeup call that these Cougars needed. The Cougars have looked extremely sharp in every quarter of the following two games and are ready to pul off this upset on Friday.
Leading the Washington State offense is senior quarterback Luke Falk. Falk is one of those quarterbacks who has insane statistics in his college career but has not received the national recognition that he deserves. Last season, Falk threw for 38 touchdowns along with over 4400 yards. Falk is an extremely accurate quarterback and has always boasted a high completion percentage as a result. However, the one issue concerning Falk last season was his 11 interceptions. This season, Falk looks more focused on limiting his turnovers and has thrown 14 touchdowns and only one interception in his first four games this season. This game is especially important for Falk due to the hype surrounding opposing quarterback Sam Darnold. Falk has a chance to make a statement on a nationally televised game that he is the best quarterback in the Pac-12 and that Washington State is a team that the AP needs to keep an eye on in the future.
As for my prediction, I am gonna side with the Cougars. USC has struggled this season against weaker foes and now has to travel into a tough environment against an elite quarterback. Darnold has had turnover issues in several games and might be without his top two receivers who are currently injured. Meanwhile, Falk and the Cougars offense has looked like a well-oiled machine and I think that he has a huge game in front of the home crowd.
I will take Washington State by about a touchdown or so. I expect Falk to throw for over 350 yards and three touchdowns which will be enough for a Cougars victory.
USC vs. Washington State: Game Time, TV Channel & Viewing Details
Event: USC vs. Washington State
Date: Friday, September 15, 2017
Start Time: 10:30 P.M. EST
Location: Martin Stadium in Pullman, WA
How To Watch USC vs. Washington State Online & Mobile
Mobile user can watch the game using the ESPN app (iTunes Store | Google Play Store | Amazon Store| Windows). You’ll need a cable subscription though, like you would watching it on your desktop.
Sling TV is a service that allows subscribers to watch live and on-demand TV channels on TVs, computer or mobile device. It’s just like a cable or satellite TV service, except it’s delivered over the internet. You can sign up for Sling TV’s free 7-day trial. If you cancel your subscription within seven days, you will not be charged. Once signed up, simply download the app for your computer or mobile device to start watching.