By Kevin Cooney
Special to FOX Sports
In this different type of college football season, the Pac-12 is about to embark on a vastly different looking championship game.
Instead of playing at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas — the scheduled host locale — it will be played under the stately flame of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. And instead of having the two teams that lead the North and South divisions of the Pac-12, it will be South champion USC hosting the North’s No. 2 finisher Oregon, who was bumped into its spot when Washington’s COVID-19 issues forced them to back out on Monday afternoon.
Nevertheless, a championship will be on the line and the Trojans could cap off a perfect – albeit abbreviated — conference season and lock in their bid to a New Year’s Six bowl with a victory Friday on FOX at 8 p.m. ET.
And being able to predict the big events of this game could help you win $25,000 in FOX’s Super 6 contest. Just download the free app, answer six questions correctly and you could win up to $25,000 while watching football. It’s that simple.
Here are the questions and some insight on how to approach your picks:
How many total points will be scored in the first half?
Options: 0-14, 15-18, 19-22, 23-26, 27-30, 31+
Both the Ducks and the Trojans have been able to post a ton of points on the scoreboard thanks in large part to high-powered offenses. Oregon has been a better first-half team recently, scoring at will early but struggling to put games away late against Oregon State and California in its final two contests. USC needed a second-half surge to edge UCLA last week. All in all, the mid-20s could be a solid place.
How many TDs will be scored in the game?
Options: 0-2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7+
If you want a sign of the depth that USC carries, consider that it has eight different players who have recorded touchdowns this season — and none of them cross-pollinate (score rushing and receiving touchdowns). Meanwhile, Oregon has five different rushers who have gotten into the end zone. In other words, both teams have multiple ways of causing damage.
What will be the highest-scoring quarter?
Options: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th or Tie
If you believe that championship games have a rhythm that takes some settling into, the second quarter may be the best play of all. Especially since the Ducks have again shown how much better they’ve been in the first half over recent weeks.
What team will have the most receiving yards and how many?
Options: Oregon or USC with ranges of 0-210, 211-230, 231-240, 241-250, 251-260, 261+
This is where Kedon Slovis and the Trojans have a huge advantage. USC can go deep with its wideouts, especially Drake London, Amon-Ra St. Brown and Tyler Vaughns. Combined, those three have 93 catches and 1,253 yards with 12 touchdowns. Oregon’s Tyler Shough doesn’t have those type of elite catchers at the top of his receiving core. On paper, the Trojans have the advantage.
What team will have the most rushing yards and how many?
Options: Oregon or USC with ranges of 0-90, 91-110, 111-120, 121-130, 131-140 and 141+
Oregon is averaging 189 yards per game on the ground, thanks to Travis Dye and CJ Verdell, who have both carried the load this season. Because Slovis and the Trojans have so many weapons among their receivers, the running game is not nearly a priority.
Choose the winning team and by how many points?
Options: Oregon or USC with ranges of 1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-9, 10-14, 15-19, 20-25, 36-30 and 31+
It would fit the weirdness of the Pac-12’s season if Oregon could come to the Coliseum and spoil USC’s path to the New Year’s Six and a likely Fiesta Bowl trip. But nothing about the Ducks performance against Oregon State and California gives enormous confidence that Oregon — which hasn’t played since Dec. 5 — can overcome USC’s offensive weapons. Again, weird things have highlighted 2020 in the Pac-12, though. So this could be a proper finish.
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