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Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic: #8 USC Trojans at #5 Ohio State Buckeyes

Can USC Crack OSU Defense?

The Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic, which will be played Dec 29 at 8:30 p.m. E.T., features the #8 USC Trojans (11-2) and the #5 Ohio State Buckeyes (11-2). Our USC plays Ohio State 2017 Cotton Bowl pick has the Buckeyes from -7.5 or -8.5 and the over/under at either 64.5 or 65.0. The Trojans, who finished first in the Pac-12 South at 8-1, went on a five-game winning streak and the end of the season. Their final victory was 31-28 over #12 Stanford in the conference title game. After losing to unranked Iowa 55-24 on Nov 4, the Buckeyes had a four-game run of wins and finished atop the Big Ten East. That run included a 27-21 victory over #4 Wisconsin for the Big Ten title.

USC Overview

When USC is running on all cylinders they can score via either the air or ground attack. Averaging 34.5 PPG, they are a highly competitive team. It will be the Sam Darnold and Ronald Jones II show. Darnold (63.7 COMP%, 26 TDs, 12 INTs) has three receivers with 30 or more catches and two more with 20-plus receptions. WR Deontay Burnett leads all with 74 catches and nine TDs. Jones has rushed for 1,486 yards on 242 carries, averaging 6.1 YPA. He has 18 TDs. The Trojans allow 405 YPG to opponent offenses and 26.3 PPG. They are giving up almost 160 rushing yards per game and close to 260 passing yards.

Trojans Summary

  • Quality QB and wideouts
  • Top running back
  • Defense can give up big plays

Ohio State Overview

The Buckeyes can roll over opponents. They’re averaging 42.5 PPG and have been good for 524 YPG. They can pass, and they certainly can run. QB J.T. Barrett (64.7 COMP%, 34 TDs, 9 INTs) may be the best in college football. He’s got a half-dozen quality receivers, including K.J. Hill with 55 catches and Johnnie Dixon with eight TD grabs. Barrett has rushed fot 10 TDs, as has Mike Weber. The primary running back, J.K. Dobbins, has 181 carries, 1,364 yards and seven scores. He’s averaging 7.5 YPA. This is a stingy defense that’s allowing under 20 PPG. They are limiting opponent offenses to 109 rushing yards and 184 passing yards each game.

Buckeyes Summary

  • Premium QB
  • Top-notch RB
  • Extra-tough defense

Three Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic Takeaways

In creating our USC plays Ohio State 2017 Cotton Bowl pick, we offer these three major takeaways-

  1. OSU is tough to stop
  2. OSU defense is dominant
  3. USC needs to generate points almost every possession

Our 2017 Cotton Bowl Classic Pick

We expect this will be a hard-fought game. The Buckeyes should be able to control the USC offense enough to cover and to keep the score under. Our USC plays Ohio State 2017 Cotton Bowl pick is OSU at -7.5 and under 65.0.

Summary USC at Ohio State Picks- Buckeyes at -7.5 and under 65.0


Paul has been writing about sports betting and sports for more than a decade, offering picks on the NFL, MLB, NHL, and NBA, as well as on college sports and European football. He's written thousands of season and post-season previews, innumerable articles on sports betting strategies, and various books on sports and sports betting.

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