(9-4, 4-9 ATS in 2009)
(6-7, 6-6 ATS in 2009)
The first Thursday night of the season will present the USC Trojans with an opportunity to get off on the right foot in their most exciting trip of the year. The Hawaii Warriors will be their hosts in one of the premier college football betting affairs of the first week of the year.
Welcome to big time NCAA football betting action, Lane Kiffin. The new head coach of the Trojans skipped town in Rocky Top for this opportunity and has the unenviable task of trying to get a team that is used to playing for Rose Bowls and National Championships ready for a season in which it cannot win the Pac-10 or play in a bowl game. QB Matt Barkley certainly appears to be ready to go, and he should really shine against a porous defense in this game. Barkley knows that two years from now when USC is off of probation, he will have a chance to lead his club to a National Championship once again and that he has the ability to be known as one of the best quarterbacks in the history of this illustrious program. He’ll have to improve upon his 2,735 passing yards from a year ago, and should get off to a good start this year. RB Marc Tyler is going to be the interest man to keep an eye on. He only carried the ball five times last year, but was impressive in camp and is expected to start. USC’s defense will need to be prepared for a tremendous aerial assault, but a crop that allowed just 19.8 points per game should be up to the challenge.
You live by the pass, and you die by the pass. That’s the motto for the Warriors every single season, and this year is no exception. QB Bryant Moniz was considered the future of Hawaii football last season, but after Greg Alexander got hurt, Moniz was thrown into the mix immediately. He responded by completing 57.1 percent of his passes for 2,396 yards with 14 TDs against ten picks. The key is going to be working the ball to WR Greg Salas, who is one of the best receivers statistically in the entire country. Salas caught a whopping 106 passes a year ago for 1,590 yards and eight TDs and will be expected to go for double digits in catches in this game if the Warriors are to pull off the colossal upset. A defense that allowed over 200 yards per game on the ground is going to be in for an incredibly stiff test. Allowing more than the 29.5 points per game that the unit allowed last year seems like a foregone conclusion.
This is the game in which we will see which USC team cares to show up. It feels like every season, Hawaii ends up getting smacked down by one clearly superior team by a ridiculous margin of victory. Last year it was Wisconsin that did damage in a 51-10 win, while the year before, the Florida Gators put a 50+ point beat down on it. This year, the margin might not be quite as large, but USC isn’t going to have to win by that much. Four scores will do.
Selection: USC Trojans -21