USC-Washington Odds

Seattle, WASouthern California has dominated Pac-10 play for years, putting together the longest run of consecutive conference titles in the league's history.

Washington has been a conference doormat for most of USC's reign, but the resume of first-year coach Steve Sarkisian - a former Trojans assistant - bodes well for a turnaround.

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Coming off a thrilling victory over one of the nation's top teams, the third-ranked Trojans begin their quest for an eighth consecutive Pac-10 title Saturday when they visit the Huskies, looking for a hallmark win to jumpstart their rebuilding process under Sarkisian.

Oddsmakers from online sports book SBGGLOBAL have made USC -21 point spread favorites (View College Football odds) for Saturday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 51% of bets for this game have been placed on Washington +21 (View College Football bet percentages).

USC (2-0) won its seventh consecutive Pac-10 title - and sixth in a row outright - en route to its fourth straight Rose Bowl appearance last season. During that streak, the Trojans have gone 52-7 in conference play.

USC comes into Pac-10 competition riding the momentum of a key non-conference victory. Freshman quarterback Matt Barkley and tailback Joe McKnight marched the Trojans downfield to set up Stafon Johnson's 2-yard touchdown run with 1:05 remaining, lifting USC to an 18-15 win at then-No. 8 Ohio State last Saturday night.

"We're Trojans. That's what we do," said the 19-year-old Barkley, who completed 15 of 31 passes for 195 yards, no touchdowns and an interception but composed himself to lead the final drive.

"This is what we dreamed of, coming back like this. Doesn't matter where we are in the score. We found a way. I love this."

Though his offense was contained for the majority of the game, coach Pete Carroll was more than satisfied with the victory.

"I think it's a beautiful statement for our whole team," Carroll said. "It was really a great job by a lot of guys."

USC has defeated Washington during each of its conference title runs, notching seven straight victories since a 27-24 loss in Seattle in 2001, Carroll's first season in Southern California.

The Huskies, though, have some added incentive - and perhaps some inside information - with Sarkisian on their sideline. Sarkisian was with USC for each of its seven conference titles, including the last two as assistant head coach and offensive coordinator. He's largely credited for the Trojans' offensive success in recent years.

The architect of USC's defense followed Sarkisian to Seattle. Nick Holt, defensive coordinator for the Trojans for the last three seasons, accepted the same position with the Huskies to help their rebuilding process.

While the connections could give underdog Washington an advantage, Sarkisian can also see it going the other way.

"I think our biggest fear is we put too much into this game, we try and build this thing up to be too much than it is," Sarkisian said.

"If we try and put too much into this there can be the repercussions after the game if it doesn't go the way we want or if it does go the way we want there can be repercussions afterward. So we've got to be careful of that."

Sarkisian got his first win as a head coach last Saturday, as Washington snapped the nation's longest losing streak at 15 by beating Idaho 42-23. Jake Locker completed 17 of 25 passes for 253 yards and three touchdowns to help the Huskies avoid becoming the first Pac-10 team to lose 16 in a row.

Locker, a highly touted recruit out of nearby Ferndale, Wash., is known as a threat with his arm and his feet, but he's been more committed to passing in his junior season.

"I think Jake - and I'm going to keep saying it - has all the tools to be as special a player and quarterback as there is in the country, if not the best," Sarkisian said. "He keeps showing it. He shows it to us every day and I think as we keep moving forward here, he's going to keep showing it to the rest of our conference and the country."

The Trojans are just as confident in their quarterback, but Barkley bruised his right shoulder in last week's game and didn't do any throwing drills in practice Monday. Carroll said Barkley "will be OK" in a statement released by the school but didn't specify how much practice time Barkley would need to be ready for the conference opener.

Sophomore Aaron Corp, who lost the starting job to Barkley in training camp, took snaps with the first-team offense Monday.

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Posted: 9/15/09 7:12PM ET

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