NCAA: Emerald Bowl preview

The Emerald Bowl on Dec. 26 brings us Boston College at No. 24 USC. USC is a 7.5-point favorite going into this one. I’m personally not sold on the prospect of this being a close game, either. The money line is -300 USC, +250 Boston College, which should tell you almost all you need to know right there.

Boston College finished the regular season at a decent 8-4, 5-3 in conference. However, they only faced one ranked team back against Virginia Tech in October and got crushed. Their passing game and running game have both produced just shy of 15 touchdowns each, so you can expect them to spread the offense around and keep USC’s defense honest, if not under worked. The offense outscored it’s remedial opponents by an unimpressive 6 points on the year. And they lost against teams that can run and pass the ball (Tech, Notre Dame, etc…)

USC had a rather human year itself, 8-4, with all the losses within the Pac-10 conference. Believe it or not, they finished in sixth place. USC is definitely the more battled-tested of these two, having played five ranked opponents this year, and coming out victorious in three of them, including (remember?) that nice creaming of Ohio State earlier this year.

USC scores on the ground, or at least mostly on the ground. And they shouldn’t have too much trouble running in that fine San Francisco weather. So I think USC is good for at least 2 -3 scores on the ground.

If you’ve watched USC much throughout the year, you know they have that spark of a special team still, it’s just not there every week anymore. Yes, the talent has dipped, but we’ve seen what they can do. The question is are you willing to take a chance that good USC will be MIA when it matters?

I recommend taking UC against the line, but I’d avoid the money line bet on this one, it’s asking you to put up too much. I’d rather take my chances with the NCAA football odds by putting $100 down on USC covering rather than tempting fate dropping $300 just to pull in a third of that if they win outright.