USC vs. Fresno State fearless prediction and game preview.
USC vs. Fresno State Broadcast
Date: Saturday, August 31
Game Time: 10:30 pm ET
Venue: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, CA
USC (0-0) vs. Fresno State (0-0) Game Preview
USC came up with a 5-7 season in a rebuilding campaign and Clay Helton was able to survive and keep his head coaching gig, but there is no counting to four.
He needs to get off to a big start, and that would be a big, big problem if he and the Trojans can’t get by Fresno State. With Stanford, at BYU, Utah, at Washington, and at Notre Dame to follow, the date with the defending Mountain West champs might be the relative breather.
Fresno State gets Minnesota after this as it gets a shot to play the role of giant killer early on – or, at least, Power Five killer. Head coach Jeff Tedford put together some fantastic Cal teams that were thorns in USC’s side during the 2000s, and now he gets a shot to do it all again.
Why Fresno State Will Win
USC is tinkering.
The Trojan offense is going to be faster and more about the Texas Tech-like quick-hitting passing game under new offensive coordinator Graham Harrell. The receivers are there, and the experience is in place, but the coaching staff has needed all fall camp to work on the starting quarterback situation.
The bigger issue is an offensive line that didn’t do nearly enough last season and had to do a whole lot of reworking this offseason. Now it has to start the season against a devastating Fresno State defensive front that’s going to be a rock against the run and should spend a whole lot of time behind the line.
There might be several new parts in the mix, but this Fresno State team is going to come in salty. The defense that allowed 14 points per game has just enough talent to work around to give the USC O a whole lot of problems, but …
Why USC Will Win
Going into LA to face a desperate USC program looking for a big start isn’t the way to welcome five new starters on the defensive side and eight new starting parts on offense, including at quarterback.
There might be several concerns about the offense getting up and off the ground, but it’s USC – there’s a whole lot of talent and upside. The receiving corps is going to be devastating once this new attack gets rolling, the running backs are solid, and this thing should work.
On the other side, the USC secondary is one of the bigger early concerns, but it should be able to weather the early storm against a Fresno State receiving corps that loses the top wideouts.
What’s Going To Happen
Fresno State went into Pasadena early last season and whacked around UCLA 38-14. It faced Arizona State in the Las Vegas Bowl and got away with a 31-20 win.
And now it’s going to push USC way too hard.
When was the last time USC lost to a Group of Five program? The 1998 Sun Bowl to TCU.
When was the last time USC lost to a Group of Five program in the regular season? Memphis 24, USC 10 to kickoff the 1991 campaign.
The Bulldogs are in for a big season, but USC will rise up from the start and grind its way to a win as the passing game starts to click in the second half. It’ll be a bit of a defensive battle with USC’s front seven taking over when it needs to.
USC vs. Fresno State Prediction, Line
USC 27, Fresno State 17
Line: USC -13.5, o/u: 52.5
ATS Confidence out of 5: 3
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Must See Rating: 3.5
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