Arkansas State Red Wolves (0-0) at USC Trojans (0-0)
|Date & Time||Saturday September 5, 2015, 11:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: USC Trojans -28.5 Over/Under 67.5
The USC Trojans and the Arkansas State Red Wolves face off on Saturday Night at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum as they kick off their 2015 college football seasons.
The expectations are sky high for the USC Trojans and head coach Steve Sarkisian but as much talent as they have they are replacing a ton as well. Southern Cal QB Cody Kessler had a monster season a year ago with 39 touchdown passes but he losses most of his top players at the skill positions. JuJu Smith-Schuster will be called upon to be the top WR and Steven Mitchell is a game breaker in the slot. Justin Davis will take over as the Trojans top RB but he hasn’t proven much while Trey Madden will compete for the tough yards. Max Tuerk leads an experienced offensive live that also features Damien Mama and Viane Talamaivo for a formidable interior. USC’s defense gave up big yards last season despite having two of the top defensive players in the nation (Leonard Williams and Hayes Pullard), both of whom who are gone. USC has talent on defense as Su’a Cravens is a star at OLB, Adoree Jackson is la leader in the secondary, and Delvon Williams is a senior on the DL. While I have considered USC’s coaching suspect, they may have enough talent to overcome it.
The Arkansas State Red Wolves have gone to a bow game seven years in a row and they have big expectations for this season. ASU QB Fredi Knighten is one of nine returning offensive starters that lit up the scoreboard a year ago with a fast paced offense. Michael Gordon returns at RB for the Red Wolves when he averaged nearly 7 yards per carry. Arkansas State is loaded at WR, 6 deep, and they are led by Tres Houston and J.D. McKissic and have a very capable tight end in Darion Griswold. ASU was run over on defense by Toledo in the GoDaddy Bowl last year and the word is out on just how bad their run defense is. Arkansas State can only hope Xavier Woodson can excel at LB, Chuks Ota can get the DL going, and Rocky Hayes plays to his potential. Arkansas State should be great in the Sun Belt Conference but they are a long way from that in this spot.
USC is 4-9 against the spread in their last 13 non-conference games. Arkansas State is 2-5 against the spread in their last seven games, 1-4 against the spread in their last five road games, and 2-5-1 against the spread in their last eight September games.
Both of these teams have issues on defense and explosive offenses so I expect a track meet and against a team who can score big this is too many points to be laying.