Hawaii USC Odds
USC, which is among the favorites to win this season’s national championship, begins its quest for a title following a two-year bowl ban when it hosts Hawaii Saturday.
The Trojans hold a 7-0 advantage all-time in their series with the Warriors. They won 49-36 Sept. 2, 2010 in the most recent meeting.
Odds makers are expecting a much more lopsided victory from USC this time around. They have listed the Trojans as a 42-point favorite with the total set at 62.5.
With Heisman hopeful Matt Barkley back following a 10-2 season, USC is expected to contend for a national title.
Barkley was considered to be a top-five pick in this year’s NFL draft, but he could be the No. 1 pick in next year’s draft if he puts together another strong campaign. He completed 69 percent of his passes for 3,528 yards with 39 touchdowns and seven interceptions in 2011.
Barkley has a pair of talented receivers to work with in Robert Woods and Marqise Lee. The duo combined for 184 catches, 2,435 yards and 26 touchdown grabs last season.
Former Penn State standout, Silas Redd, joins Curtis McNeal to form a formidable running back duo. Redd rushed for 1,241 yards last year and McNeal ran for 1,005 yards.
Even if a defense that returns seven starters is serviceable, USC will have an opportunity to win a lot of games.
Norm Chow, who served as offensive coordinator at USC from 2001-04, inherits a Hawaii program that went 6-7 in 2011. USC head man Lane Kiffin was also on the staff when Chow was with the Trojans.
The Warriors clearly aren’t as talented as the Trojans, but Chow’s knowledge of Kiffin could help level the playing field, likely not to the point of winning but perhaps to the point of covering the spread.
Chow has faced off against Kiffin in some capacity each of the of the last five years and is 3-2 in those meetings.
Hawaii has been known for explosive passing attacks in recent years, but I’m not sure if that trend will be able to continue following the departure of Bryant Moniz. Duke transfer Sean Schroeder has been named the starting quarterback for the opener.
Chow inherits a team that went 6-7 and is picked to finish seventh in its first season in the 10-team Mountain West Conference. He has announced that Duke transfer Sean Schroeder will be his starting quarterback.
Schroeder, who graduated from Duke in three-and-half years, is an intelligent football player, but he’s yet to prove anything on the field at the collegiate level. However, the potential is there. He was the 29th ranked quarterback in the Class of 2009. That ranking put him ahead of some familiar names like Utah’s Jordan Wynn, TCU’s Casey Pachall and ASU’s Brock Osweiler.
The Trojans finished last season on a 4-0 against the spread run while the Warriors limp into 2012 on a 1-7 against slide. The Trojans are also 28-12 against the spread in their last 40 non-conference games while the Warriors are 1-7 against the number in their last eight games against non-conference foes.
Hawaii has played to the over in four of its last five non-conference matchups while USC has finished under the total in five of its last six games against non-league foes.