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Please note that this game will be played Saturday, December 21, 2013 at 12:30 PM EST
(NCAAF) Fresno State +6.5 over USC (Thursday, December 19, 2013)
One of the reasons that dogs are such a solid play in the early part of the bowl season is the motivational factor. When you find big favorites in the first week of the bowls, it is generally because you have a superior underachieving program facing a school from a minor conference that has nothing to lose and in fact is blowing out its chest in hoping to slay the giant. That figures to be the case here with USC and Fresno State in Las Vegas. The Trojan season odyssey is well documented from the firing of Lane Kiffin, to the 6-2 run with interim head coach Ed Orgeron, to the hiring of new head coach Steve Sarkisian. The players desperately wanted Pat Hayden to keep Orgeron but that was not to be and lets not forget that this USC team was the same team that was an uninspired and unmotivated 21-7 loser to Georgia Tech in last year’s Sun Bowl. USC players have said the right things to this point and the returnees will need to answer to Sarkisian next years but nout counting on a big effort from the favorites. In fact, Pac 12 teams have historically been unhappy to be in this bowl going 2-6 ATS over the last eight years. Fresno State has a serious gunslinger quarterback in Carr and could have easily folded their tents after losing to San Jose State and costing themselves a BCS bid. Instead, they came out and easily handled Utah State in the Mountain West championship game and will be looking for more here. Reports from the Bulldogs camp is that they are eager to show that they belonged in a BCS game and they’ll be out to prove that here. If FSU can find a way to move the ball consistently, they could outscore USC and maybe win straight up.
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