Hawaii Warriors at #1 USC Trojans
Saturday, September 1, 2012, 7:30 pm Eastern, TV: Fox
Los Angeles Coliseum – Los Angeles, California
Opening Line: USC -37
Current Line: USC -42
Opening Total: 64
Current Total: 63 1/2
Opening Money Line: USC -45000 / Hawaii +15000
Current Money Line: USC -75000 / Hawaii +25000
After 2 years of NCAA sanctions that prevented the USC Trojans from going to bowl games, the Trojans are back and loaded for a run at a BCS Championship.
The road to that championship starts at home against Hawaii. This is the eighth ever meeting between the Trojans and Warriors, and only the third in Los Angeles. USC won the last meeting in Honolulu in 2010 49-36. The Trojans lead the Warriors 7-0 all time in a series that dates back to 1930.
Last season, under coach Greg McMackin, the Hawaii Warriors were 6-7. They had some good wins like 44-26 at eventual WAC champion Lousiana Tech and a 34-17 win over the Pac 12’s Colorado. (Yes, the Buffaloes were terrible last year and it was in Hawaii, but a win over a BCS conference team still counts as a quality win in my book) The Warriors also had some puzzling losses like a 40-20 loss at UNLV, 28-27 at San Jose St and a 24-21 home loss to Fresno St. Those three teams combined for 11 wins last year. A win in any of those games would have made Hawaii bowl eligible. Losses to bowl teams Washington, BYU, Utah St, and Nevada can be excused I guess. McMakin resigned under pressure in December and Hawaii hired Utah offensive coordinator Norm Chow as coach. Chow was the USC coordinator from 2001-04. Hawaii was 4-9 ATS last year and the total was 8-5.
Last season, USC coached by Lane Kiffin, finished 10-2. The losses came at Arizona St 43-22 and at home against Stanford 56-48 in triple overtime. The best win was at then #4 Oregon, a game the Trojans won 38-35. USC had narrow wins over Minnesota, Utah, and Arizona by a total of 18 points. The Trojans were 8-4 ATS last season and the total was 6-6.
Junior Sean Schroeder, a transfer from Duke will be the Hawaii quarterback. He has never thrown a college pass before, but he could throw 50 or 60 against USC. Receivers Billy Ray Stutzman and Jeremiah Ostrowski combined for 143 receptions last year along with 9 touchdowns. Hawaii had a 2-1 pass to run ratio last year, but when they do run, Joey Iosefa is the top threat. He rushed for 548 yards and 7 touchdowns last year.
Hawaii lost a lot of talent on defense. However, senior defensive end Paipai Falemalu, linebacker Art Laurel, and safety John Hardy-Tuliau do return. The defense will be tested by the explosive USC offense.
USC got a break when quarterback Matt Barkley decided to return for his senior season. Barkley threw for over 3,500 yards 39 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. He is the Heisman favorite, and will be a first round NFL draft pick next spring. Robert Woods and marquise Lee might be the best tandem of receivers in the country. They combined for over 1,400 receiving yards and 26 touchdowns last year. To top it off, USC added Penn St running back Silas Redd to an already loaded offense.
The defense gave up some big plays last year to teams like Stanford and Oregon but most teams did. Safety T.J. McDonald and corner Nickell Robey anchor a strong secondary. Sophomore linebackers Dion Bailey and Hayes Pullard had 81 tackles each.
The Warriors are 6-1 ATS on grass, 1-7 overall and in non-conference games. The Trojans are 28-12 ATS in non-conference games, 4-0 overall, and 5-1 on grass.
There is no question, USC will destroy Hawaii. However, 42 points is a bit much. The Warriors will score around 30 points, I feel. I think USC wins by around 25-30 points. Something like 59-31.
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