Note: I do not pick non-conference games and those involving Arizona (since this is an Arizona-based Web site).
Javier Morales 2013 Overall Record: 20-6 (.769).
Javier Morales Against the Spread: 19-7 (.731).
When: Tonight, 6 p.m., Tucson time. Where: Reser Stadium, Corvallis, Ore. TV: ESPN2.
Spread: Oregon State by 4.5.
When does USC play Arizona?: The Trojans defeated the Wildcats 38-31 on Oct. 10.
When does Oregon State play Arizona?: The teams do not meet in the regular season.
Why USC will win: The Trojans are one of the best in the nation with their defensive unit. USC ranks No. 1 in the Pac-12 in total defense and No. 2 in rushing defense. USC trails only Stanford in run defense, allowing only 105.4 yards per game. That number should improve this week facing a one-dimensional Oregon State offense that relies heavily on the passing of quarterback Sean Mannion. The Beavers average only 66.6 yards rushing per game.
Why Oregon State will win: Despite losing 20-12 last week against Stanford, the Beavers fought to the end when it seemed like they had no chance. That comes from veteran coach Mike Riley, who will have his team ready coming off a loss especially playing at home. USC’s defense is solid but it has shown weaknesses against some quarterbacks. Arizona’s B.J. Denker passed for 363 yards against the Trojans. ASU’s Taylor Kelly burned the Trojans with 351. Oregon State’s Sean Mannion leads the nation with 407.9 passing yards per game.
Outcome: Oregon State by 10.
Reason: I could use the reason that Oregon State has won four of the last five meetings in Corvallis with USC’s last win there in 1997 (Pete Carroll was 1-2 at Reser Stadium as USC’s coach). But the most significant reason is Riley, who gets his team ready after defeats. The Beavers have won five consecutive games in such a scenario dating to 2011. Their average margin of victory in those games is 33.6 points. They have won each by double digits. He is 13-5 coming off a loss since 2009 and the Beavers had a couple of lean years in that span (5-7 in 2010 and 3-9 in 2011).