On Saturday, September 2nd, the #4 ranked USC Trojans open up the 2017 season at home against a Western Michigan Broncos team that went 13-1 last season. Kickoff inside the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, CA, is at 5:15 P.M. ET.
The Western Michigan Broncos lit up the MAC conference last year and finished the season with a 13-1 record and a tough loss to Wisconsin in the Cotton Bowl. They’re poised to make another run at the MAC conference title, but will have a massive challenge to start the season.
USC Trojans came on strong last year after starting the season off slow. They quickly became one of the most dangerous offenses in the country with quarterback Sam Darnold leading the way. USC looks to carry the momentum from their Rose Bowl victory into the 2017 season and pick up right where they left off.
The spread currently sits at -27.5 points for USC with some books at -27 for the Trojans. The Over/Under opened at 55, and is holding steady at 58.5 points.
The Broncos have lost their best playmaker in receiver Corey Davis, starting quarterback Zach Terrell and head coach P.J. Fleck. Although they have some returning weapons, these losses are too much to overcome. You can erase all thoughts of them duplicating a 13-0 regular season. But, they should still take the MAC West division and contend for the conference title. However, the MAC isn’t the Pac-12 and USC is one of the top ranked teams in the country largely due to the number one rated QB Sam Darnold.
Darnold led the Trojans offense from the ashes to top 20 in the nation. They averaged nearly 477 yards per game and 35 points per game. They lit up the second half of the season and stormed their way to a Rose Bowl victory over Penn State. Darnold is pegged as the #1 draft pick for the 2018 season and expectations are high in Los Angeles for these Trojans.
USC has five of their top seven targets back and a deep backfield that will help balance out a high-octane offense. The only question mark is the offensive line that lost three starters from last year. Although there is some talent ready to step in and fill the holes, this is something worth keeping an eye on.
USC put up over 40 points per game at home last year and allowed opponents to score over 19. The Broncos are still talented enough on both sides of the ball to keep this game within the large spread, but it could take a few games for the team to realize the potential of new players and new coaches.
Expect Sam Darnold to come out on fire and show why he’s the top QB in college, leading USC to at least 40+ points before the backups get in. The Broncos will contribute enough points, most likely late in the game, to help the total hit the Over of 58.5 points. The Over is 4-1 in the Broncos last 5 grass games.
USC is expected to be the favorite in all of their games this year, and some of the spreads might be a bit too high like this one, which is right around 4 touchdowns. The safe play here is on the Over and USC scoring a lot of points.