After a great offseason that grabbed most of the headlines, USC is ready to finally kick off the Lincoln Riley era and make this program relevant again in national college football.
Southern Cal opens against Rice in a chance to debut what should be one of the most improved offenses in the nation behind an elite transfer cast.
Here’s what you need to know about the Week 1 season opener.
how to look
When: Saturday, September 3
Time: 6 p.m. ET
Television: Pac-12 Network
Stream: fuboTV (Start your free trial)
USC Odds Vs. rice, differential, line
Money line: USC -10000 RICE +1800
FPI Selection: USC 96.1%
RELATED: Odds, spread, USC line vs. Rice: Week 1 College Football Picks, Predictions
USC vs. Rice: what to watch
1. All those USC transfers. Finally, a look at this cast of characters in the same field. Most importantly, 5-star quarterback Caleb Williams along with Biletnikoff wide receiver Jordan Addison, who led college football with 17 TD receptions last season. But it’s not just Addison: Williams is also targeting Mario Williams, Terrell Bynum and Brenden Rice. Travis Dye comes over from Oregon to lead the backfield alongside Austin Jones in a potent group of skill threats ready to make a dramatic first impression.
2. How the USC fever has progressed. The foundation of any modern defense is its ability to constantly attack the quarterback. That’s something USC didn’t do very well last season, finishing with just 21 sacks. Korey Foreman, a formidable 5-star recruit last year, needs to get more aggressive, and he’ll have a big help in the Auburn Romello Height transfer coming off the rim, both against a Rice line with decent outside protection.
3. Rice will test USC’s defense. Don’t overlook the Owls, who were tied with Arkansas going into the fourth quarter of their game last season. Watch fifth-year quarterback Wiley Green take on a group of receivers who can rack up yards on short and medium plays with pace, and with the help of a backfield that has enough return production to test USC’s interior lineup. .
These early-season matchups are pretty straightforward: The heavy favorite with all the flashy-skill players gets up quickly, builds the big lead, and then the subs take over sometime in the second half.
But it will be exciting to finally see this all-star transfer team take the field in a competitive situation and see what they can do against an outmatched opponent.
That’s been the Lincoln Riley experience: putting together incredibly talented players and letting them loose. But what’s really holding USC back from college football playoff contention is this 89th-ranked defense.
With the Trojans building an early lead, that will give Alex Grinch a chance to get aggressive and experiment with this unit to build a firm base going forward.
College Football Venue Prediction: USC 41, Rice 10
Odds, spread, USC lines vs. Rice: Week 1 College Football Picks, Predictions
College Football Week 1 Games You Must Watch
Picks, Predictions and Week 1 Odds for College Football Games by Computer Model
According to the AP Top 25 poll
- Ohio State
- notre dame
- Texas A&M
- oklahoma state
- State of North Carolina
- state of michigan
- old lady
- forest stele
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