Alabama is No. 1 in the major polls, but that’ll be put to the test right away against an ultra-motivated USC program looking to show it’s back to form. Check out the Alabama vs. USC fearless prediction and preview.
Alabama vs. USC Game Preview
Date: Saturday, Sept. 3
Game Time: 8:00 pm ET
Venue: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX
Why Alabama Will Win
14 straight. That’s how many season openers the Crimson Tide have won since losing to UCLA to open up the 2001 campaign. Since taking over the reins, Nick Saban has been amazing when it comes to opening up the season, taking care of Wisconsin last year, West Virginia in 2014, Virginia Tech in 2013 and Michigan in 2012 all by double digits – the Crimson Tide know how to load up against the big boys out of the gate.
Yeah, the defense is reloading in some key spots. Yeah, the quarterback situation is a little bit of a question mark. Yeah, Bo Scarbrough has to become yet another superstar running back. Yeah, there are a few pieces here and there that need a little bit of work, but the offensive line should be fantastic right away, and the USC defensive front is one of the key question marks.
The Trojans will be fine in time, and they have plenty of talent up front, but opening games are what Southern Utah is for – you don’t figure it out against Alabama.
Expect Alabama to be Alabama. Run the ball, grind out the clock, play great defense, hit the right third down plays, and be more physical.
Why USC Will Win
18 straight. That’s how many season openers the Trojans have won since losing to Florida State to kickoff the 1997 season. Fine, so the recent run of opening wins isn’t as impressive as Alabama’s – Minnesota in 2011 was the lone Power 5 win since 2008 – the program doesn’t lose right away.
Alabama won’t be tricky. It’ll try to bludgeon the Trojans with the running game, but the back seven should be able to keep the tremendous Crimson Tide receiving corps in check. This will have to be a grinder of a game, and if USC can somehow hold up on first downs and force Bama into long third down plays, they’ll feast. Last year’s Crimson Tide team was awful on third downs, and this one won’t be much better right away against this D.
Offensively, USC might have the better weapons – even though Bama’s Calvin Ridley is as good as any receiver in college football. The running backs are tremendous, and JuJu Smith-Schuster is special. If Max Browne can hold up under the pressure as the new starting quarterback, the offense should be fine.
What’s Going To Happen?
USC is probably better than you think. On the surface, it’s Nick Saban vs. Clay Helton, but this is a strong Trojan coaching staff that can more than hold its own. But that might not be enough.
It all comes down to the USC defensive front. It’ll play with a great attitude for a long stretch, but that won’t be enough as the game goes on. The Trojans will wear down as the game goes on, but the offense will hit the Alabama defense with just enough big plays to keep the game alive. The Crimson Tide will survive, but they’re going to have to work for it.
Alabama vs. USC Prediction
Final Score: Alabama 27, USC 20
Line: Alabama -10.5
ATS Confidence: 5: Lock of the Century – 1: Move Along … 2.5
Must See Rating: 5: Any Ryan Lochte interview – 1: Bridget Jones’s Baby … 5