USC vs. UNLV fearless prediction and game preview.
Date: Saturday, September 1
Game Time: 4:00 pm ET
Venue: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, CA
Network: Pac-12 Network
USC (0-0) vs. UNLV (0-0) Game Preview
How is it possible that these two have only played twice?
John Robinson coached for both programs. It’s just a little drive between the two – and Vegas is an easy getaway for the Los Angeles crowd – and it seems like it should be a given of a September date on a regular basis.
But the USC 35-21 win in 1997 was it.
And now, at the very least, the opener can’t be any worse for UNLV than the 2017 lid-lifter was, losing to Howard in an all-timer of an upset.
This year, as long as the Rebels can keep it close and as long as they come up with a decent performance, that will be enough. With UTEP, Prairie View A&M, and a not-that-bad run before November, this could and should be a good season.
USC gets to go to Stanford and Texas in the next two games – it needs this to be a tune-up for all the young parts. It should be able to go through the motions and win this, but with whats next, it has to get sharp in a hurry.
One Reason Why UNLV Will Win
The USC quarterback situation is going to be great, because it’s USC. But losing Sam Darnold is still a problem for an attack that’s going to go really young – but really talented. The Rebels have to hope the Trojans are off.
Offensively, UNLV has the talent in the backfield to hang around with just about anyone. Armani Rogers is one of the Mountain West’s hottest young quarterbacks, but Cal transfer Max Gilliam is coming in to provide a bit of a fight for the gig – that’s a good thing.
Throw in nationally-underappreciated back Lexington Thomas, and there are parts to the Rebel puzzle that should and could scare the Trojans. But …
One Reason Why USC Will Win
Even with star pass rusher Porter Gustin sidelined with a knee injury, the USC defense should be able to handle everything UNLV is bringing.
Most of the top pass rushers are gone from last year’s D, but the Trojans have a rock of a back eight that should keep the Rebel mid-range passing game from generating too many yards after the catch.
On the other side, the best thing a new offensive backfield can get is time, and it’ll have it. UNLV’s pass rush has miles to go to be even mediocre – it was among the nation’s worst last season.
What’s Going To Happen
The USC offense will come out hot.
UNLV is good enough to keep this from getting out of hand until late, but the Trojan O line will take over early on as Stephen Carr puts up a massive game to get a boatload of national attention.
The Rebels will go on a few nice scoring drives just to keep this from getting too ugly, but USC will look the part of the defending Pac-12 champions – and then they’ll go prepare for Stanford as soon as possible.
Fearless Prediction & Line
USC 41, UNLV 17
Line: USC -25.5, o/u: COMING
ATS Confidence out of 5: 2
Must See Rating: 2.5
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