USC-California Odds

Berkley, CA Southern California had no trouble bouncing back from a tough loss. It might be tougher to move past the events of recent days.

Bet College Football Week 5

The No. 7 Trojans hope to put the distractions of a difficult week behind them when they visit No. 24 California on Saturday.

Oddsmakers from online sports book SBGGLOBAL have made USC -6 point spread favorites (View College Football odds) for Saturday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 61% of bets for this game have been placed on USC -6 (View College Football bet percentages).

USC (7-1, 1-1 Pac-10) rebounded from a loss to Washington with a 27-6 win at home over Washington State last Saturday. The excitement over the victory was overshadowed, however, after a scary accident in the weight room Monday. Stafon Johnson, who rushed for 16 yards and one touchdown against the Cougars, suffered a crushed neck and larynx after the bar he was bench pressing slipped and fell on his throat.

Johnson had to undergo an emergency tracheotomy followed by reconstructive surgery. It's unclear when he'll be able to speak again, but he's expected to fully recover. Coach Pete Carroll, who visited him Tuesday, said the senior running back was communicating non-verbally.

"He's not talking, but he was doing his wave and writing," Carroll said. "It's very uplifting for his mom and his family and all the guys who got a chance to go down there."

Johnson was the Trojans' leading rusher last year with 705 yards and nine touchdowns. He's been the short-yardage back this season, rushing for 157 yards and five touchdowns, and had the go-ahead score against then-No. 8 Ohio State earlier this month.

"Do you feel some effect? Of course we do," Carroll said. "We're connected. This is a very tight program and a very tight team. Stafon's been a spiritual leader and a leader on the field for a long time here. ... So this is something that does effect you. We all will feel it for some time."

Carroll said he isn't concerned about the incident distracting the Trojans, who bounced back from a 16-13 road loss to an unranked Washington team with a strong all-around effort against Washington State.

USC held the Cougars scoreless until giving up a touchdown with 22 seconds remaining in the game. The Trojans finished with 403 yards of total offense as freshman quarterback Matt Barkley, who'd missed the previous game with a bruised shoulder, went 13 of 22 for 247 yards and two touchdowns.

"He was on the mark last week," Carroll said. "He had a great football game. He had a couple of tough decisions to make. What he did is get rid of the football with great anticipation and urgency and accuracy."

Carroll will be looking for Barkley and starting running back Joe McKnight to step up with Johnson out, but he'll also need the defense to find a way to contain Cal running back Jahvid Best, the Pac-10's leading rusher last season and a Heisman Trophy contender.

The Trojans, who are holding opponents below 60 rushing yards per game in 2009, limited Best to 30 yards in a 17-3 victory over Cal last season.

The Golden Bears (3-1, 0-1) had their six-game winning streak snapped last week with an embarrassing 42-3 rout at Oregon. After averaging 48.7 points in their first three games, they failed to score after Vince D'Amato's 47-yard field goal gave them a 3-0 lead.

It was Cal's most lopsided loss under coach Jeff Tedford, and worst defeat since losing 55-14 to USC in 2001.

"There's a lot of veteran guys on this team that understand that that's one game, and it's really important that we put that behind us, that we learn the lessons from that game and we move forward," said Tedford, whose team dropped 18 spots in the AP poll.

The Bears managed just 207 yards of total offense - 77 rushing. Best was held to 55 yards on 16 carries after averaging more than 137 yards in the first three games and rushing for five touchdowns in a win over Minnesota in the previous contest. Starting quarterback Kevin Riley was replaced in the fourth quarter after going 12 of 31 for 123 yards.

Riley had thrown for 698 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions in the first three games, completing 64.8 percent of his passes. Despite pulling him, Tedford said he hasn't lost confidence in the junior quarterback, who hasn't thrown a touchdown in the last two games.

"I think that's a good game for (his development)," Tedford said. "Kevin has enough resolve and enough confidence to work hard and keep going. I wouldn't say he took a step back. He had a rough game but I wouldn't say that's going to shake him forever."

After two difficult road games, including a 35-21 win over the Golden Gophers on Sept. 19 in which the game was tied late in the fourth, Cal returns home, where it outscored Maryland and East Washington 111-20 in the first two games of the season. While the Trojans figure to be a much tougher opponent, the Golden Bears went 5-0 in conference home games last year, giving up a total of 73 points.

USC has won five straight over California, including the last two meetings in Memorial Stadium.

Bet College Football Week 5

Posted: 9/30/09 10:11AM ET

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