A pair of three-loss teams look to bounce back from tight road losses last weekend. Both Utah and USC competed deep into the fourth quarter at Arizona and Notre Dame, respectively, only to fall short in the decisive moments. Those outcomes continued a trend that has persisted throughout their seasons as the teams have combined to lose three home games by a touchdown or less. Taking the home team makes sense in such an even matchup, and Utah may lack the services of starting quarterback Travis Wilson. But it should stay close from start to finish in a battle more defensively oriented than the ordinary Pac-12 clash. Putting pressure on tentative USC quarterback Cody Kessler marks the first step in Utah’s attempt to repeat Washington State’s upset in the Coliseum.
Utah and USC trail Arizona State and UCLA in the South Division race, so this game probably bears few broad implications. Utah needs two more victories for bowl eligibility, one of which it should secure when they play Colorado later this year. Therefore, an upset in the Coliseum essentially would secure its postseason berth, while a loss would shrink their set of opportunities with games against opponents like Arizona State and Oregon still ahead. USC’s 13-game schedule does not grow any easier in November either, so the chance to knock off an unranked opponent in a home game cannot be spurned. Utah at USC, 1 PM, Pac-12 Network