USC should be one of your College Football Bowl Picks for this week.

USC Trojans NCAA Football Betting Season Preview

Written by on June 27, 2016

The 2016 college football odds season will be Clay Helton’s first as the full-time coach of the USC Trojans, and he comes in with one of the hardest slates ahead of him in the nation. His first game will bring the defending national champion Alabama Crimson Tide, and then he has road games at Stanford, Washington, UCLA and Utah. The home schedule isn’t much easier, bringing Oregon, Arizona State and Notre Dame. The defensive line doesn’t have much depth, and the Trojans have a brand new quarterback. Despite the talent level, there are a ton of questions that Helton will have to answer.

Let’s Review The Trojans College Football Betting Season Preview

Let’s Talk Trojans Offense

Max Browne takes the helm at USC as a junior. He has never started a game before, which means that his initial start will be in AT&T Stadium in Dallas against Alabama. Browne succeeds three-year starter Cody Kessler, although Browne was terrific before college, leaving school after being named National High School Player of the Year. Browne has a gun of an arm, and he has senior Justin Davis (5.3 yards per carry, 902 yards in 2015) and sophomore Ronald Jones (6.5 yards per carry, 987 yards) as a terrific tailback tandem. He also has All-American candidate JuJu Smith-Schuster (89 catches, 10 TDs, 1,454 yards) to catch the ball, and he has a strong offensive line. There is also Adoree’ Jackson, the talented cornerback who just might take the field as a wide receiver form time to time as well.

What’s Going On With USC’s Defense

USC has a strong defensive coordinator in Clancy Pendergast, and he put a top unit out on the field in 2013, but his line this year has no starters coming back, and Kenny Bigelow, the promising nose tackle, will miss the season with a knee injury he suffered during spring practice. Rasheem Green and Noah Jefferson have size and promise, and Porter Gustin has the speed at the outside linebacker/defensive end position to excel in Pendergast’s 5-2 scheme. Cameron Smith won the Pac-12 Defensive Freshman of the Year award last year and will fill one inside linebacker spot. The secondary will be strong, with Iman Marshall and Adoree’ Jackson both able to manage receivers in man coverage at the corners. There is a battle for the starting safety positions, but that is a battle of riches rather than a struggle to find someone to cover deep.

USC’s Special Teams, You’re On Deck

The kicker (lefty Matt Boermeester) and the punter (Chris Tilbey) will both be new. Boermeester handled some kicking duties last year, but Tilbey is learning American football from scratch, as his experience comes from Australian Rules Football. Long snapper Zach Smith returns for his fourth season, prepared to wrap up a terrific college career. Adoree’ Jackson also returns kicks and is dangerous on both kickoffs and punts.

Final Remarks

So how will USC do against this competition? I don’t see them beating Alabama. But the only other losses I would write down in ink right now are at Sanford and at Utah. After that 1-3 start, I see the Trojans getting on a big roll, and if others in the conference falter, they could be waiting with that Pac-12 South title, ready to enter the conference title game.