Best picks for USC football’s season

Three predictions for the Trojans’ upcoming season that are bound to hit.

By STEFANO FENDRICH
Junior quarterback Caleb Williams is back for another year after his record-breaking, Heisman-winning sophomore season. He is poised to help USC make another dominant run after falling short last year. (Tomoki Chien / Daily Trojan file photo)

It’s finally back. After months of despair, longing and boredom, college football is making its return, and Trojan fans have good reason to be especially excited for the season that could very well be USC football’s best season in a decade and a half.

A returning Heisman, a head coach with a career record of 66-13, nine four-star transfers and the most five-star recruits from the class of 2023 in the Pac-12 to add to it; what more could you ask for?

It will undoubtedly be a great season for USC, and I have a few things in particular that I am confident will happen. I am merely looking at these for fun, and this is by no means gambling or financial advice. But hey, if it hits, it hits. So, let’s get into my favorite picks for the Trojans’ upcoming season.

Week 1, San Jose State @ USC – Over 63.5

What better place to start my predictions than at week one. The easy pick for a lot of people might be to take USC’s spread at -29.5, but I don’t think that’s the way to go. In all likelihood, it will win in a blowout, but with 87% of the public on the Trojans’ spread, I’m not touching it. The over is the much safer play, and who doesn’t love rooting for a high-scoring game?

USC has the offensive firepower to carry this over itself single-handedly. The Trojans averaged the third-most points in all of college football last year, with 41.4 points per game. But what seals the deal is that USC hit on the over in 78.6% of its games last season, the highest in all college football. The only worry for this bet is that Head Coach Lincoln Riley may pull the starters early, but that happened in last year’s opener, and the final score was 66-14. Lock it in.

USC season win total – Over 9.5

This one isn’t as easy to take as the last one. Ten wins in one season is a lot for most teams. The Trojans did it last year by getting to 11 wins, but they haven’t reached 10 wins in back-to-back seasons since 2016 and 2017. FanDuel is also offering this play at -170: not very favorable juice. But let’s not overthink this. Looking at the Trojans’ schedule game by game, 10 wins is very doable.

USC’s over win total is set at 9.5, so it should easily be able to hit that mark considering the vast improvements it’s made on both offensive and defensive units. (Tomoki Chien / Daily Trojan file photo)

In their first six games — San Jose State, Nevada, Stanford, Arizona State, Colorado and Arizona — the Trojans are significantly better than the opposing teams. Its remaining games are Notre Dame, Utah, Cal, Washington, Oregon and UCLA. Cal should be a convincing win, and UCLA lost a lot of key offensive talent from last year. That puts the Trojans at eight wins. Meaning it would just need to go 2-2 against those remaining four teams for this to hit.

The Trojans have only improved their roster from last season and are looking for revenge going into this one. Ten wins is more than feasible for how talented of a football team they are.

Caleb Williams season passing TDs – Over 33.5

I thought about this one for a very long time. Although junior quarterback Caleb Williams finished with 42 total touchdowns last year, getting 34 is no easy feat. He would need to average just under three touchdowns per game to get to this total. It feels unprecedented for any player to have this dominant of a season two years in a row. And then I remembered this man is the definition of unprecedented. In his first season at USC, he broke the single-season record for passing touchdowns, yards and total offense.

You could say I’m just blindly picking overs, and you may very well be right. But I trust in Williams, and that’s all that matters. Will he win a back-to-back Heisman? That, I don’t know. What I do know is he will have another amazing year. Williams is unlike any college quarterback I’ve ever seen, so if I trust anyone to be able to do this, it’s him.

There are definitely a few more futures to take for USC’s football season, but these are the ones I’m most confident in. College football is back, and USC is primed to continue where it left off. At the end of the season, we’ll see just how smart (or dumb) these picks turned out to be, but right now, I’m confident I’ll go a clean 3-0.

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