It’s been four weeks of must-see TV when the Colorado Buffaloes are on the football field, and Week 5 is no different. Colorado will headline the noon slate against the USC Trojans and reigning Heisman Trophy winner QB Caleb Williams.
The Trojans are heavy favorites entering Folsom Field. Can Colorado rebound and upset one of the Pac-12 favorites?
USC vs. Colorado Betting and DFS Preview
Visit the College Football Network live college football odds page right here.
USC (-2300), Colorado (+1060)
- Game time
12 p.m. ET
Folsom Field, Boulder, CO
- Predicted Weather at Kick
75 degrees, 8-1010 mph winds, partly cloudy
- How to Watch
Top Fantasy Plays
We’ll provide some DFS plays once we have enough offerings from FanDuel, but you can rest assured you’ll want to load your lineups, both daily and season-long, with Trojans.
As always, you can stash Caleb Williams in your lineup and feel like you’re in good hands. Williams, though, is coming off another dominant performance and has the road map to beat Colorado’s defense, thanks to Bo Nix and the Oregon Ducks.
Nix peppered the Buffaloes’ defense with a ton of underneath passing concepts and easy passes that got his receivers the ball quickly and in space. USC’s game plan typically involves a five- or seven-step dropback from Williams, but don’t be surprised if you see the Trojans get the ball out of Williams’ hands quicker in this one.
As far as playmakers outside of Williams, you’d be advised to follow the trends once again. Oregon targeted Troy Franklin all over the field but a ton of his work came over the middle. Coming off a dominant outing against Arizona State, it’s clear Brendan Rice has developed into one of Williams’ favorite targets.
Rice is a dominant receiver over the middle in his own right, and should feast against Colorado’s secondary. Stash Williams and Rice, prosper.
For Colorado prospects, however, it’s a unique blend of high-end ability mixed with confusing results from the Oregon outing. The offensive line was porous against Oregon, but the Ducks did enough to confuse the offensive line with elaborate blitz packages and stunts from defensive linemen that got home more often than not.
It’s safe to say Oregon’s defense is certainly more advanced than USC’s is at this point, so you’re likely going to see points on the board from both sides.
Shedeur Sanders struggled when pressure was applied against Oregon, and though USC can get after the QB, the game plan will likely be altered for Sanders to get the ball out much faster against the Trojans.
Xavier Weaver is the most targeted receiver of this group but he was kept in check against Oregon’s top defensive backs. Instead, look for Sanders’ escape route, his safety net, or we call him Michael Harrison.
The Buffs tight end has been Sanders’ go-to guy in a pinch the past two weeks and should garner a ton of targets against USC.
Prediction for USC vs. Colorado
Oregon exposed Colorado to the casual audience. But let’s face it, the Buffs were always going to be in for a rough road with that trip to Eugene, any team will struggle there this season.
Getting back home, you better believe Coach Prime will have his team working on fixes immediately and studying the tape of this USC team and how to beat them.
That being said, is there any way the Buffaloes could actually upset this USC team? Though we don’t see a way, we do see an easy way for a cover: USC’s porous defense.
Williams and Co. on offense can score on anyone and pressuring the reigning Heisman Trophy winner only makes him more dangerous. So the recipe is simple to beat USC: Score more points.
Can Colorado’s offensive line keep up against the USC front to protect Sanders enough to make it competitive? They’ll have to play lights out to do so.
Bear Alexander’s impact has been huge on USC’s defense after he transferred in from Georgia. He’s opened up rushing lanes for the outside pass rushers to get home as Alexander commands a double team.
If the Buffs make adjustments to get their hands on Alexander and contain him in the middle, Solomon Byrd and Jamil Muhammad should have a field day on the outside. There is too much firepower on this defensive line for USC to think anything other than a dominant outing will be the outcome.
Calen Bullock continues to play ball-hawking football on the backend for USC and is the man to watch as he patrols the middle of the field and keeps Sanders in check.
Max Williams vs. Michael Harrison is a matchup of epic proportions. Williams will give up the size advantage to Harrison, but he’s proved that that means nothing when he’s matched up with tight ends in coverage this season.
With all this said about USC’s defense, their offense will still take center stage against a depleted Colorado defense. Can Colorado field a complete enough game on both sides of the ball to at least cover against the spread?
We think not.
Prediction: USC 48, Colorado 20