1. USC WIN TOTAL PREDICTION: WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN
Sort of lost in the weirdness of last season was how USC went on a 20-2 run before losing to Ohio State in the 2017 Cotton Bowl.
2018 was supposed to be a bit of a down season in several ways, but it’s USC – a rebuilding year is supposed to be 8-4.
It was a down year for the Pac-12 South, and it still didn’t matter – USC couldn’t come through with anything positive over the second half of the year.
On the plus side after dropping five of the last six games including a clunker to UCLA, each of the last four losses were by seven points or fewer. It’s possible that it might not take that big a pivot to suddenly be a player in the Pac-12 title chase again.
But a big pivot is what’s coming.
Head coach Clay Helton is only a year removed from leading the way to the conference championship and a second straight New Year’s Six bowl, but again, it’s USC – you don’t go 5-7 at USC.
Helton was able to keep his gig, but the change to a more open passing game and a higher-octane offense is supposed to reenergize the program. Considering that Urban Meyer guy is going to be in town working for FOX, anything less than something special from Helton will get the rumors flying.
The receivers are in place to make the O go, JT Daniels and/or Jack Sears are good enough to run the show, and the defense has the talent to be a whole lot stronger. Even so …
Set The Regular Season Win Total At … 9
The schedule is nasty, even with several of the bigger games at home.
The first six games and nine of the 12 are against teams that went bowling. The other three? Arizona, at Colorado, UCLA – not exactly a cupcake vending machine.
At Washington. At Notre Dame. At Arizona State. Home games against Utah, Oregon and Stanford – it’s all tough.
This year’s USC team should be four wins stronger and better, but even an improved squad will have a hard time coming up with anything more than a split against the Huskies and Irish away from LA, and beat the Ducks, and beat Fresno State, and win at BYU, and …
Whatever … it’s USC. Win the Pac-12 title.