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USC Faces Many Uncertainties On Its Roster Heading Into Opener At Hawaii

Posted by Blake Frazier on 8/26/2013 6:55:08 PM

There are a number of intriguing games on the first night of the college football season. USC-Hawaii is not the best of the lot, but it’s hardly the worst one, either.

USC Trojans @ Hawaii Warriors – Thursday, August 29
Sport betting line: USC -22

Why USC Will Win

When the best online betting sites tackle this clash, they will certainly give the advantage to USC. It’s not so much that USC is so good, but that Hawaii has a long way to go to prove itself in the college football ranks. Former coach June Jones brought this program to the 2008 Sugar Bowl, but it’s been mostly downhill ever since, with the exception of a sterling 2010 season in which the program shared a piece of the Western Athletic Conference championship. Hawaii’s offense was smothered in 2012, save for a 48-point outing against UNLV. In Hawaii’s nine non-UNLV games against Football Bowl Subdivision opponents, the team scored a total of 129 points, an average of under 14.5 points per contest. Hawaii will likely need to score at least 24 points in this game just to have a slight chance of winning. The Warriors will likely need to score at least 38 points if they want to have anything close to an even-money shot. They’re just not ready.

Why Hawaii Will Win

This is more of a pressure cooker than any set of NFL preseason games. College football doesn’t have a preseason. So, in this contest, one has to come to grips with the realization what while USC has superior talent, that talent might not mesh very well in the first game, giving Hawaii an opening. People in the online sports betting legal community are going to recognize this.

USC head coach Lane Kiffin doesn’t really know what he has on his roster right now. He chose to place his two main quarterbacks, Max Wittek and Cody Kessler, in the awkward position of being “co-starters” for this game. Uncertainty at other positions also defines the Trojans right now. Tre Madden, Silas Redd and Justin Davis are all listed as co-starters at running back.

Chad Wheeler won the starting left tackle job over incumbent Aundrey Walker, and that raises questions in and of itself – did Wheeler win the job because he was so good, or because Walker slipped? Walker will move from tackle to right guard, and sure enough, he’s listed on the depth chart as another one of those “co-starters” with John Martinez. There’s so much turnover on USC’s offensive line that the unit might not function very smoothly in this game, inviting the possibility of a very subpar outing.

There’s no less confusion and vagueness on the defensive side of the current USC depth chart. Free safety and strong safety have three starters listed. At cornerback, Kevon Seymour and Devian Shelton are listed as co-starters on one side, while returning starters Anthony Brown and Torin Harris share that same distinction. With all this roster chaos, one doesn’t really know if USC will be particularly cohesive in this game… or disjointed. If the disjointed version shows up, Hawaii has a puncher’s chance.

Who Will Win

The talent of USC will win the game, but 22 points is a lot to give for a team that is so unproven at the moment. USC will win by three touchdowns, which means Hawaii will cover the number.

College Football Betting Pick: Hawaii +22

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