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The pick: Why USC will beat Washington State

By Colton Clark The Spokesman-Review

PULLMAN – If you asked Washington State fans two weeks ago, they’d probably have said no chance.

All of a sudden, the Cougars have reason to like their odds vs. Pac-12 heavyweight Southern California, which doesn’t appear like such a daunting challenger anymore.

The Trojans (1-1, 0-1) come to Pullman after a week of getting reoriented. Their coach, Clay Helton, was fired Monday afternoon – two days after perhaps the most embarrassing loss of his seven-year tenure, a 42-28 clunker vs. Stanford.

It wouldn’t be foolish to assume USC needs time to put the pieces back together, leaving the door open for one-score underdog WSU (1-1, 0-0).

The Cougars have the momentum on their side after walloping FCS visitor Portland State, and tuning up their mindset and offensive schematics in the process.

“I’d call it a bounce-back,” receiver Travell Harris said. “You need that ‘L’ to get a fire under yourself. We’re definitely a bit more excited, a little bit more energy going into this week.

“We needed that win.”

That’s likely the feeling the Trojans have about this one. They’re fighting for their image.

USC might grapple early with some instability, but it’ll find its footing and inspiration under interim coach Donte Williams.

“You have to embrace when everything’s against you, when the chips are stacked against you,” Williams said. “I think right now this team embraces that. I think we’re going to show the world on Saturday what we’re all about.”

I predict the Trojans prevail with their edge in talent in a back-and-forth, down-to-the-wire affair.

The pick: USC 30, Washington State 28