There will be more at stake than City of Angels bragging rights when the 7-3 USC Trojans and 8-2 UCLA Bruins get it on at the Rose Bowl Saturday afternoon (3 pm ET, Fox).
Along with license to boast and possession of the Victory Bell, the winner of this game gets the chance to represent the South Division in the upcoming Pac-12 championship game, probably against Oregon.
Bettors will get a chance to turn a profit, if the Trojans can cover the 3.5-point spread that existed at most sportsbooks tracked by OddsShark.com as of Friday.
USC has won and covered three straight vs UCLA, but recent history tells us they will fail on the road, as they are 0-5 ATS in five recent games away from home.
To review, USC was supposed to win the South with ease this season, battle the Ducks in the Pac-12 championship game, then maybe play for the national title. Instead, the Trojans have lost three games to fall completely out of national championship, and hit a low point when they gave up 62 points in losing to Oregon two weeks ago.
Now Southern Cal must beat UCLA just to save a little face.
The Bruins, meanwhile playing their first season under new head coach Jim Mora, Jr., were thought to be the “best of the rest” in the South. Instead, they've got the inside track on winning it.
With freshman QB Brett Hundley running the show UCLA has become at least as dangerous on offense as the Trojans. In winning their last four games in a row, the Bruins have scored 176 points.
So UCLA, at 5-2 in conference play, leads the Pac-12 South by a half-game over 5-3 USC. The Bruins host Stanford next week to finish their conference season, while the Trojans will host Notre Dame.
The Trojans have beaten the Bruins five times in a row, by an average score of 32-7. Last year, as USC played its season finale because of probation and UCLA had already clinched a spot in the Pac-12 title game, the Trojans bombed the Bruins 50-0.
Free Pick: USC has had a downer of a season, while UCLA has been a very pleasant surprise. And the Bruins would love to get a little revenge for that drubbing they suffered last season at the hands of the Trojans. We'll take the points with UCLA to avenge that 50-0 game in 2011. (courtesy of PickShark.com)