USC Football

Making The Case: USC Will Start The Season 4-0

August 1, 2019
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Even with all of the off season turmoil, the Heckyll & Jeckyll recruiting class, and what seemed like a mass exodous thru the transfer portal, the Trojans emerged from a dark place into the light ready to take on all comers...Ready to do what Trojans do...Fight On!

Throughout the off season, USC Scoop has kept things pretty balanced pointing out the many issues that the program is trying to overcome, but also highlighting the new energy that has even the staunchest critic, semi-curious.  Truth be told, every fan feels a little excitement, some more than others. 

USC’s 2019 schedule is by no means an easy one to navigate. If the Trojans are to have a special season, the first four games will be a good indicator.

Here’s the case for why USC will beat Fresno State to open the season. 

To borrow from the Rob Johnson Book of Smack; When asked about Fresno State being USC's opponent, Johnson said "we would never schedule (Fresno State) if it wasn't a bowl game.  We want to put them in their place." 

Don’t worry Fresno, we’ve moved on to UC Davis to kick around.  Scheduling Fresno State is now considered en vogue...even though USC will never play in Fres....I’m just gonna stop right there. LOL

As long as JT Daniels, assuming he’s the starter, doesn’t throw two interceptions (I see you Rob Johnson)--the Trojans will come away with the victory.  The Bulldogs led by Jeff Tedford come into the Coliseum following a 12-2 campaign in 2018, but the team coming in this year lost too many letterman to graduation, including the starting quarterback. 

USC simply has too much riding on this game and too much fire power to not come away with the victory.  Under the lights in the newly renovated Coliseum, with an ESPN national TV audience, the Trojans will debut the new up-tempo Air Raid offense. With a shaky USC secondary coming out of the gates, the Trojans will score too many points for the Bulldogs to stick around.

As long as USC keeps the unforced errors to a minimum and doesn’t turn the ball over, the Trojans win this game.

Next!

As usual, Stanford and USC face each other in the conference opener in Los Angeles.  The Cardinal will enter the Coliseum one week after hosting Northwestern in Palo Alto. Even though they lost a ton on offense from 2018, they still return senior starting quarterback, K.J. Costello and enough talent to play Stanford’s physical style of ball-control football.  That’s on offense.  This game will be all about styles and which team can dictate control. 

USC will be looking to be an up-tempo, high octane, score a lot, type of offense through the air while mixing in a healthy dose of a run game.  Last season the Cardinal defense surrendered 264 yards per game through the air and that could spell disaster if the Trojan offense is in synch. 

David Shaw’s teams are always well coached and rarely beat themselves, but Stanford’s also very predictable.  Can USC bait them into a shoot out or will Shaw stay true to his style?    If USC can get a double digit lead and the young secondary can continue to find their way, USC, should win this game at home.

If Costello can get his tight ends and receivers to impose their will on the young USC secondary and control the clock with the run game, USC, could find itslef on the wrong side of the scoreboard.

Game three and the Trojans hit the road to play BYU in Provo Utah, so this game will tell us what kind of team the Trojans are playing in a hostile environment.  Does BYU have enough skill to surround sophomore quarterback Zach Wilson and pose a threat to USC’s defense?  The 6-3, 200-pound sophomore can run and history has shown mobile quarterbacks are USC’s achilles heel, so there’s that to consider. But do the Cougars want to expose Wilson to too many shots? 

If USC’s defense shuts down the Cougar run game, the Trojan offense should be able to do enough on the road to secure the victory.  Barring a complete meltdown, USC, will win this game.  But we saw how the Trojans responded last season when things didn’t bounce their way...let’s hope the Trojan Way gets put to use.

The Trojans will look to sweep the state of Utah when they return home to host the Utah Utes on Friday Sept.20.  Interestingly enough, both teams will have played a common opponent in BYU when they hook up at the Coliseum.  The Cougars and Utes opened their respective seasons against each other with the Holy War game in Provo, so there will be plenty of game film for each team to break down.   The Utes were selected to win the South division, so the winner of this game puts themself in a good position going forward. 

This game has the potential to turn into one of those PAC12 After Dark high scoring affairs; Utah returns senior quarterback Tyler Huntley, senior running back Zack Moss. and a deep receiving corps led by Britain Covey.  

Look for the Trojans to load the box in an effort to stop Moss and the Ute running game, forcing Huntley to throw the ball. In the past he’s shown to be an inconsistent passer.  The other factor playing in USC’s favor is Utah has never beat the Trojans in Los Angeles.  If the Trojans can neutralize Utah’s veteran defensive line with an an up -tempo, quick strike passing attack and wear them down, the home team should come away victorious.  This game may ultimately be decided by which defense can get off the field.

The schedule is USC’s friend the first four games which should help the team build confidence heading into the games against Notre Dame & Washington.  Starting the season 4-0 could be the catalyst to bigger things down the road, however, lose more than one and the tenuous hold on Trojan fans interest could disappear.

*The Trojans open fall camp on August 2.

 
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