Two traditional college football meet this weekend as the USC Trojans face the Texas Longhorns. Kickoff is set for 8:30 EST on Saturday, September 16 at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The game will be nationally televised on Fox.

The Trojans opened as 14-point favorites, but with most of the betting going towards USC, the Trojans are now 17-point favorites. The over/under for the game is 67 points. Click here for a full list of Week 3 betting odds and links to game previews.

Texas vs USC Vegas Game Preview & Betting Odds

The Trojans have announced themselves as College Football Playoff contenders after a convincing 42-24 win over Stanford last week, breaking a three-game losing streak to the Cardinal. There were some concerns after USC struggled to pull away from Western Michigan the first week of the season. But the no. 4 Trojans are now clear favorites to win the Pac 12 South.

Meanwhile, the jury is still out on the Longhorns in Tom Herman’s first season. Texas barely broke a sweat while beating San Jose State 56-0 last week. But a season-opening loss at home to Maryland was disappointing. A win against USC would give Herman a signature win early in his tenure. But a lopsided loss could have some fans already questioning the hire.

This will be the first time these two teams have met since Vince Young led Texas to a Rose Bowl win over the Trojans and the 2005 national championship. However, USC is stating that since their season was voided by the NCAA, that loss doesn’t count, making them undefeated all-time against the Longhorns. Either way, there is great anticipation for this matchup more than a decade later.

Free College Football Pick Against the Spread: USC -17

While the thought of Texas vs. USC conjures up memories of a competitive and entertaining college football classic, there is a huge gap between these two programs in their current state. With Herman still trying to find his footing at Texas, the Longhorns aren’t ready to challenge USC at the Coliseum, so I fully expect the Trojans to cover the spread.

To be honest, I’m a little worried about USC quarterback Sam Darnold. He was brilliant against Stanford, completing 21 of 26 passes for 316 yards and four touchdowns. However, he’s also thrown two interceptions in each of the first two games of the season. Obviously, he played well enough to overcome those interceptions. But if he continues to turn the ball over, it could keep the Longhorns in the game.

The good news is that Darnold will have plenty of help around him. Aside from USC’s talented receivers, Ronald Jones II and Stephen Carr have both been exceptional running the ball early in the season. Texas couldn’t stop Maryland from running the ball, so there’s little chance of them shutting down USC’s running game, which should take some pressure off Darnold. 

Click on the link for more free NCAA football picks against the spread and total.

As for Texas, starting quarterback Shane Buechele is questionable with a shoulder injury. Freshman Sam Ehlinger filled in against San Jose State and got the job done. But he wasn’t overly impressive against an inferior opponent. Having to rely on Ehlinger against USC may not be conducive to Texas pulling off the upset.

Excitement and emotions will no doubt be high in this game. That could help Texas stay in the game and perhaps even take an early lead. But once things settle down, USC’s superior talent will take over and ultimately lead to the Trojans winning comfortably and covering the spread. Herman may get Texas back to the top one day, but the Longhorns definitely aren’t there yet.