USC Betting Odds Preview
Just a few seasons ago it looked like Southern Cal could go on forever winning conference championships, playing in Rose Bowls and BCS title games. But all dynasties come to an end, and in USC's case it got a little ugly, with off-field shenanigans leading to the departure of head coach Pete Carroll and the implementation of a two-year postseason ban. Then, when the Trojans became eligible for the conference championship game and big bowl bids last year, they fell flat on their collective face. Can USC return to some semblance of its former glory this year? Or will Trojan Nation have to suffer through another lost season?
After a two-year postseason ban USC had 16 starters back last year for what was supposed to be a run at another national title. The Trojans opened the season ranked No. 1 in the AP Poll, and led by Heisman candidate QB Matt Barkley appeared loaded for bear. But by the end of a long season Southern Cal couldn't even beat a 6-7 Georgia Tech team in the Sun Bowl.
The Trojans started 6-1, although some of the wins, such as the ones over Syracuse, Utah, and Washington, didn't come easy. They then blew a lead and lost at Arizona, gave up 62 points in losing at Oregon, struggled to beat Arizona State, lost for the first time in six seasons to UCLA (losing Barkley in the process), fell to Notre Dame in the season finale, and looked disinterested in losing the bowl to the Yellow Jackets. So USC finished 7-6 overall, 5-4 in the Pac-12, and a miserable 3-10 ATS, as the Trojans committed 34 turnovers on the season.
This year Southern Cal returns 15 starters, including eight on offense, led by RB Silas Redd, WR Marqise Lee (118 catches for 1,700 yards last year), and four along the offensive line, and seven on defense, including five of the front seven. But most notably the Trojans will have to replace four-year starting QB Barkley.
USC begins this season in Hawaii, then opens Pac-12 play with a home game against Washington State. After a couple more winnable non-conference home bouts they then get back into conference play with a road game at an improving Arizona State. From there on out the Trojans host Arizona, Utah, and Stanford, visit Oregon State, Cal, and Colorado, then end the season with the game that could decide the South Division, a bout with rival UCLA at the Coliseum. They also miss Oregon, which doesn't hurt.
Pac-12 Championship Odds at 5Dimes as of August 11
Oregon State +1050
Arizona State +1100
Washington State +6000