The Trojans have won more than nine games in each of the past two seasons. However, as is often the case at a program like USC, the Trojans will enter the 2018 season looking to replace several key players. USC is one of those programs that reloads rather than rebuilds, but having someone take over for Sam Darnold is much easier said than done.
USC 2018 regular season win total
Over 9 (-120)
Under 9 (-110)
Odds courtesy of BetDSI Sportsbook.
What Happened Last Year
The Trojans didn’t look quite as crisp of as dominant as people expected in the early going, but they still jumped out to a 4-0 start. USC suffered its first loss on the road against Washington state on Friday night. The three-point loss to a ranked team wasn’t a huge deal, but when Notre Dame blew out the Trojans a couple weeks later, that was an eye-opener.
Still, USC rattled off five straight wins to finish the regular season and win the Pac-12 Championship. The Trojans earned an invite to the Cotton Bowl, but seemingly nothing went right in that game as Ohio State came away with a 24-7 win.
What Will Change This Year
Replacing a quarterback of Darnold’s stature is far from an easy task, but luckily whoever takes over at USC will have plenty of playmakers to rely on. Matt Fink and Jack Sears are already on campus and may have an advantage in the quarterback competition, but incoming freshman J.T. Daniels will also compete for the job.
Stephen Carr will also be an important player to watch as he takes over for Ronald Jones II. As a freshman, Carr scored three touchdowns and totaled 363 rushing yards and 188 receiving yards.
Outlook & Prediction
The new quarterback won’t get very long to ease into the role. USC opens against UNLV, but then has back-to-back road games against Stanford and Texas before another Friday night game against Washington State.
While the Trojans hit the road for three of the first five weeks, they don’t have to leave the state of California for any of the season’s final three weeks. USC’s schedule certainly gets off to a tough start, but eases down the stretch. That may be the opposite of what you want when you’re breaking in a new quarterback, but none of the game are particuraliy dreadful, especially when you have as many talented athletes as USC does.
Athletes and star recuits often win out in college football and USC is loaded. Bet the over, knowing a push seems to be the worst case scenario.
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