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The USC Trojans – one of college football’s elite programs – preparing to “Fight On” as they come out of the Coliseum tunnel at the start of a game. Photo courtesy of fbschedules.com
HOW WE SEE THE RESULTS FOR EACH GAME THAT THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA TROJANS FOOTBALL TEAM WILL PLAY IN 2016.
As was said in our recently posted preview of this team, these Trojans have a schedule that is considered by most to be the toughest in the country.
Though Clay Helton’s squad has much talent – when has ‘SC not had talent on the gridiron – to say that this year’s schedule will greatly test them is an understatement.
I won’t waste any more time; here is how I predict each game unfolding…
Alabama at AT&T Stadium in Dallas, TX, September 3rd: LOSS
I believe everyone outside the Trojan Family looks at this game the same way as I do, as even though I see USC giving this preseason #1 team and defending national champions a battle in the first half, the Crimson Tide’s superiority will ultimately prevail and ‘Bama will win by about 17 to 21 points.
The fact that whoever is the Trojan quarterback will have his first college start against this mighty (Roll) Tide doesn’t help.
Utah State, September 10th: COMFORTABLE WIN
The Trojans’ home opener at the Coliseum, which interestingly enough starts at 11:00 a.m.
Not that it will matter as this is the epitome of a “breather”, the only real “gimme” game they will have this season.
Which they will sorely need with this next opponent that ‘SC will have to face seven days hence…
at Stanford, September 17th: LOSS
Even though this Cardinal team from Palo Alto, representing the only other private school in the Pac-12 Conference, lost quarterback Kevin Hogan and several of those monster linebackers linemen on both sides of the ball,
They have always been able to not skip a beat in recent years, which has been a key factor in their conference titles and Rose Bowl appearances.
Being that Stanford smacked the Trojans around twice last season, winning the Pac-12 title the second time,
That they return running back/jack of all trades Christian McCaffrey, a guy who was absolutely robbed of the Heisman Trophy last year as he was by far the best player in the country,
And that game is on the road at the Farm,
I really don’t see things being different as far as USC beating Stanford this time.
An institution on the Trojan campus since 1967: USC’s white-sweatered Song Girls. Photo courtesy of cbssports.com
at Utah, September 23rd: CLOSE WIN
Although this game is on the road in front of a usually intense fan base, and although these Utes from Salt Lake City return their entire offense line and some key guys on defense,
They’ll be breaking in a new quarterback and a new running back as Devontae Booker in particular will be sorely missed.
That’s why I’m giving the Trojans the slight edge here.
Arizona State, October 1st: WIN
Just like Utah, these Sun Devils will have a new and inexperienced quarterback to take into the Coliseum.
They were 6-6 last year, and ‘SC beat them rather handily in Tempe.
To put it bluntly, ASU doesn’t have the personnel to give the Trojans too much trouble as it’s a safe bet that the USC band will be playing their victory songs, “Conquest” and “Tusk”, roughly four hours after kickoff.
Colorado, October 8th: WIN
These Buffaloes from Boulder are a good illustration of a team that’s getting better talent-wise and on the field, but doesn’t have the wins to show for it.
Sefo Liufau is a talented QB who can give opponents fits with his running ability, but there’s a reason why they’re picked by everyone to finish last in the Pac-12 South again.
Especially since this game is at the Coliseum, the Trojans should have an easier time with Colorado than with Arizona State.
Highlights from USC’s 2015 season, plus some hype for 2016, courtesy of YouTube.com
at Arizona, October 15th: WIN
For being bitter Territorial Cup rivals, these Wildcats have quite a bit in common with their Sun Devil rivals in the sense of them currently being a .500 program that’s had trouble getting over that hump and joining the Pac-12’s elite.
Any quarterback would love to have the 20 touchdowns with just five interceptions that Anu Solomon threw last year.
And it’s cool that one of their receivers, Trey Griffey, is the son of one of the newest members of the Baseball Hall of Fame, Seattle Mariners great Ken Griffey, Jr.
But just like their ASU enemies, U of A’s talent doesn’t match up with ‘SC’s, and though the Wildcat crowd will play a factor, the Trojans should win comfortably.
California, October 27th: COMFORTABLE WIN
These Golden Bears haven’t beaten USC since 2003, and that was due to a field goal in overtime!
The Trojans’ winning streak against Cal currently stands at twelve.
With many of those wins being of the blowout kind as even with Berkeley’s all-time leader in every passing category, Jared Goff – who now plays for the resurrected Los Angeles Rams as the number one overall pick – behind center, the Bears couldn’t break that skid.
Now with Goff gone and new starters at SO many positions,
It’s quite safe to say that the streak will reach 13.
Oregon, November 5th: COMPETITIVE, BUT A WIN
I’ll put this plainly:
For the time being at least, the (extremely fast) run that these green, yellow, and oftentimes other-colored Ducks from Eugene had with their Rose Bowls and National Championship Game appearances is over.
Royce Freeman will be good at running back, as will the rest of the offense, but this is a team where Duck fans should expect a lot of 45-38 games, with the Ducks having the 45 for the majority of the time, but not enough of the time.
That will be the case when USC meets them in the Coliseum, as though I see this as being a competitive game, I see the Trojan defense stepping up in the end and becoming the difference.
USC linebacker Cameron Smith running back an interception for a touchdown against Utah last season. Photo courtesy of news.usc.edu
at Washington, November 12th: LOSS
This will be the “Trip Up” game for USC, as these Huskies are on the rise with everyone having them as contenders in the Pac-12 North; Athlon Publications picked them to beat Stanford and win not only that division, but the conference outright.
Plus the game is in Husky Stadium in Seattle, a notoriously loud and tough place for opponents.
And U-Dub showed their up-and-coming status last year by beating the Trojans in the Coliseum!
Simply put, I just don’t see ‘SC winning this one.
at UCLA (Rose Bowl), November 17th: TO BE DETERMINED
As is tradition, I never pick a winner in this annual Crosstown Rivalry Clash until the week of that game.
In this case, that prediction will be made on Thursday, November 15th, as part of the Crosstown Rivalry coverage.
In other words, I’m going to let this season unfold for these rivals before I give my opinion of who will have the upper hand and take – or retain possession of in USC’s case – the Victory Bell.
Notre Dame, November 26th: TOSS UP
If this game between the Trojans and their other chief rivals were played today, I would pick the Fighting Irish in a close contest as they’re in everyone’s preseason top ten.
But since the 88th meeting between these longtime adversaries won’t be played until Thanksgiving weekend, like with UCLA I’m going to let the season play out before I decide how I see this game unfolding.
Right now these two teams seem pretty evenly matched, hence my prediction of a toss-up.
But I’ll know a LOT more by mid-November.
OK, there you have it – my predictions of how these Trojans from just south of downtown Los Angeles will fare in each contest this season.
Like with everybody else who does this, I’m sure I will get a little disagreement, if not some grief, from those ‘SC fanatics who won’t accept anything but blowout wins.
But hopefully this will serve as a bit of a guide as to what to possibly expect as this longtime member of college football’s elite begins its 129th season.
The Trojan Marching Band, having never missed a game – home or away – since 1987, performing on the field at the Coliseum. Photo courtesy of festivalofbooks2014.usc.edu