USC vs. San Jose State: TV info, betting odds, and predictions
USC opens Year 2 under head coach Lincoln Riley on Saturday.
This new iteration of the Trojans promises to light up scoreboards once again. With Caleb Williams — the reigning Heisman Trophy winner — surrounded by a ridiculous amount of skill talent, USC should once again be one of college football’s most efficient offenses.
The question rests on defense. And it’s the same question that has been asked of Riley-coached teams for nearly his entire head coaching career. Does USC have enough in the front seven to slow other teams down? USC lit up scoreboards last season, it’s true, but so did opponents. Six of USC’s final eight games saw the opposing team score at least 35 points.
“We expect to be an extremely high-level defense here at USC,” Riley said in the spring. “No reason in the world why we can’t and why we won’t be. We expect that will happen and happen soon. … Guys understand the scheme better. Guys get better physically. You bring in some talent you feel like can come in here and make an impact quickly.”
How much will USC be able to actually prove in Week 0 against San Jose State? That remains to be seen. The Trojans are massive favorites over the Spartans. It’s hard to impress, though certainly easy to provide reasons to doubt.
New faces will make their debuts all over the field. USC welcomes transfer talent like Dorian Singer, Bear Alexander, and Anthony Lucas. Freshman linebacker Tackett Curtis is in line to start. Former blue-chipper Domani Jackson will feature much more after a quiet freshman campaign.
Here are all the details you need for the game.
TV and Kickoff Time
Kickoff time: 5 p.m. PT
Location: L.A. Coliseum
TV Network: Pac-12 Network
Line: USC -30.5
Money line: USC -10000, San Jose State +2400
ESPN’s FPI gives USC a 96.4% chance of beating the Spartans.
Saturday Out West’s Jon Gold predicts a USC victory:
This is the perfect kind of launching pad for Williams and the Trojans, a mid-tier Mountain West squad with a solid quarterback in Chevan Cordeiro, the Mountain West preseason offensive player of the year. The Spartans are just good enough to give USC a look — one that will come into play when the Trojans play the Arizona and Arizona States of the world. Williams should be good for 300-plus yards and a few TDs, and it’ll be fun to see how he hits it off with new wideout Dorian Singer.
Saturday Out West’s Derek Peterson predicts a 56-17 victory for USC:
I expect to see Malachi Nelson on the field. I expect to see quite a bit of rotation on the offensive line. I expect to see the absolutely disgusting amount of skill position talent that USC has at its disposal show out. I also expect a mixed bag from the defense. There’s certainly a chance new guys on that side of the ball come out and flex their muscles, USC plays with its hair on fire, and USC rides the “first game” high to a season-best kind of defensive performance. I’ll be very curious to see if USC’s rich turnover luck (it was very lucky last fall) continues. Spartan quarterback Chevan Cordeiro is slippery, and he should be able to string a couple of drives together for scores.