USC Win Total Prediction
The USC Trojans had their worst record since 2000 last year and they now look to regroup in hopes of getting back into the national picture.
After a couple of successful seasons under Clay Helton, USC went just 5-7 last year and posting a 4-5 record in the Pac-12. They failed to make a bowl for the first time since 2011, but that was by choice at that time. According to oddsmakers, the Trojans come into the season with an over/under of 7.5 wins for 2019. The over is listed at +150, while the under is at -170.
Usually an offensive power, USC averaged just 26.1 points and 382.6 yards per game last season. USC will have a QB battle to consider, as JT Daniels started last year and threw for 2,672 yards, but Jack Sears had an impressive spring. Either way, the Trojans need more from their QB position. USC returns its top three receivers from a year ago, which should keep the passing game someone strong. On the ground, USC loses its leading rusher, but does have Vavae Malepeai back, who led the team with eight rushing touchdowns.
Defensively, USC gave up 27 points and 388 yards per game. Their defense was pretty balanced in terms of national rankings, being near the middle in both pass and rush. The unit has just four starters back, with three coming in the front seven that produced just 29 sacks a year ago. Marlon Tuipulotu and Christian Rector each had 4.5 and are back on the line. In the secondary, it’s going to likely be a young starting group that is unproven and somewhat injury prone. USC had just four interceptions for all of 2018. That has to get much better in a pass-heavy conference.
USC opens with Fresno State at home, but then has a big game with Stanford at home in Week 2. Other non-conference games come at BYU and Notre Dame. The rest of the P12 schedule has the Trojans hosting Utah, Arizona, Oregon and Cal while traveling to Washington, Colorado, Arizona State and Cal.
This isn’t a great schedule for USC if the Trojans hope to turn the ship around. There isn’t a real gimmie in the bunch, as Fresno State had a solid 2018 season. USC is unproven at a lot of key positions, including quarterback and in the secondary. That isn’t a recipe for success in the Pac-12. The Trojans have to score points and have to make defensive stops in the pass game. I don’t feel confident that they can do either. Helton could easily lose this team and fan base with a slow start, which I think will happen.
College Football Prediction: USC under 7.5 wins -170