The college football landscape just hasn’t been the same out west, with the USC Trojans doing next to nothing over the last four seasons of the Clay Helton regime. He was finally nipped in the bud in-season last year. A whole new era is set to go down in SoCal with Lincoln Riley bolting Oklahoma for much greener pastures on the west coast.
With that, things are bound to get a whole heck of a lot more interesting for the Men of Troy. Though USC has just one 8+ win campaign in the last four, linemakers at BetRivers Sportsbook tagged this year’s squad with a near 10-game season wins total. It’s also got the Trojans lined as +200 favorites to win the Pac-12. Portal acquisitions of QB Caleb Williams, RB Travis Dye, and WRs Jordan Addison and Mario Williams play a large role in the belief Riley can turn this thing around in a jiffy.
As much as I’d like to think USC has it in it to make an immediate run at the league title, I’m going to need to see it first before I believe it. The Trojans have been huge disappointments of late, and the roster only ranks No. 94 overall in returning production. It has major question marks along the fronts on both sides of the ball, and the secondary also looks to be an issue. There are more experienced and cohesive teams competing in the Pac-12 this season. I don’t think USC deserves to be the odds-on favorite to take it down. Because of it, I’ll pony up on the under of the win total and challenge Riley and Co. to prove me wrong.
Bet the USC Trojans Season Wins Total at BetRivers Sportsbook
USC Trojans Season Wins Total: 9.5 Under -134
The Trojans clocked in as 200-1 and 100-1 underdogs to win the national championship in 2019 and 2021 respectively. In the COVID shortened 2020 season, USC was 40-1. They actually went on to win five of six played game that year but saw the campaign ultimately come to an early close. College football bettors are buying into what the program is selling heading into the first week of the regular season. USC initially hit the board at 35-1 but can now be had at just 20-1; odds that will likely shorten through the first five weeks of the season with the Trojans installed favorites to win each and every game. If bullish on this team, you’re best bet is to buy in now and hope USC can get the job done before the middle of October arrives.
USC Trojans Season Win Total Analysis
The entertainment factor in the Coliseum is going to be at a fever pitch over the course of the regular season! How can’t it with the offensive talent returning paired with the new faces lured in through the transfer portal? USC led the Pac-12 in passing offense last year. It however displayed an inability to put points on the scoreboard. While the aerial attack ranked No. 18 in the land, the unit only mustered an average of 28.7 points per game (No. 66).
That issue is likely to be rectified with the offensive wunderkind taking over the reins. Williams (+750) currently sits only behind C.J. Stroud (+175) and reigning Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young (+360) to win the award this season. With Tahj Washington, Gary Bryant, and Kyle Ford all returning, the Trojans own an embarrassment of riches at the wide receiver position. It also looks pretty darn good in the backfield! There are however some major questions along the offensive line. If the straw that stirs the drink doesn’t do its job, will it even matter if the pass catching corps is made up of an all-star cast?
As big a get DC Alex Grinch was, I still question his ability to turn the fortunes of a horrendous stop unit around as early as this season. USC’s defense was an unmitigated disaster a season ago. It ranked No. 90 overall and surrendered nearly 32.0 points per game (No. 102). On top of all that, it got little to no pressure on opposing quarterbacks (1.75 sacks per game), and couldn’t get off the field on third down. The unit has some holdovers in the front seven with DE Nick Figueroa and LB Ralen Goforth, but all the other plugins come from the portal or inexperienced players. It’s going to take time for Grinch to put his thumbprint on this unit.
Would it shock me if this team ultimately went on to win 10+ games and with it the Pac-12 title? No! Would it surprise me if it won eight and lost to all the other major players in conference? No. As talented all the newcomers are, they’re still all very green and rough around the edges. As great Riley has been throughout his first five seasons coaching at the collegiate level, he’s going to need to show me more before I fully buy into the Trojans once again becoming a title contender overnight. Go ahead, prove me wrong. Escape the landmine that could be Fresno State in Week 3. Go into SLC and beat the Utes. Make sure you don’t get caught looking ahead the weak prior against Wazzou! After all that, beat UCLA in the Rose Bowl and then snap a four-game losing streak to the Fighting Irish.
Too many unknowns. Too many uncertainties. Only one football for all those egos. Prove me wrong – I’m on the under at BetRivers!
USC Trojans Season Win Total Prediction: Under 9.5