Opening Line: Alabama -11.5
Time: 8 PM EST Saturday September 3, 2015 on ABC / ESPN3
No. 20 USC Trojans vs. No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide
These teams are two of the top teams in college football, but they have not met since the 1985 Sun Bowl. USC is the betting underdog in this game and they have not faced a SEC team in over 10 years and have not beaten a No. 1 ranked team in their last five tries.
The Tide lost their starting QB and RB to the NFL, but they are still stacked. Junior Cooper Bateman and redshirt freshman Blake Barnett may share reps under center for Alabama, who have a solid WR corps and they have a couple of young RB’s in Bo Scarbrough and Damien Harris, who will be facing a USC defensive line that lost all five starters from last season.
This game is being held at a neutral site at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
The Tide will be facing a USC team that has a solid LB unit and if they can establish the run early the pass game will much easier. Barnett is the better passing QB with a strong arm and if he is in the game the USC secondary, which has many new faces, will be in for a long night.
Max Browne takes over under center for the Trojans, who return eight starters on offense. Their big gun returning is WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, who is a pre-season All American and last season caught 89 receptions for 1,454 yards with 10 TD. He and the other Trojans’ WR’s will be facing an athletic Alabama secondary and Browne will be facing a solid Bama pass rush led by Ryan Anderson and Tim Williams.
The Tide have not lost a season-opener since 2001 and USC has not lost a season opener since 1997 so something has got to give in this game.
The key in this game for USC on defense will be stuffing the run and holding the Tide to 3rd and long situations, which they were not good at converting last season. If that is not the case this game may be over early. Also, on the offensive side of the ball Browne has to get time on the pocket to find his WR’s, mainly Smith-Schuster, and If that happens the Trojans have the chance at the big upset.
USC RB’s Ronald Jones and Justin Davis are in for a tall task facing the Crimson Tide front line and while Browne’s play is key on offense if they can run the ball and help keep the Tide’s offense on the sidelines it would be a major accomplishment.
Last season USC had an ATS record of 6-8 and an O/U record of 6-7-1 and Alabama had an ATS record of 8-7 and an O/U record of 6-9.
- USC is 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games overall.
- USC is 1-5 ATS in their last 6 neutral site games.
- USC has an Over record of 6-2-1 in their last 9 non-conference games.
- Alabama is 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games overall.
- Alabama is 3-11-1 ATS in their last 15 non-conference games.
- Alabama has an Over record of 16-4-1 in their last 21 neutral site games.
USC Trojans at Alabama Crimson Tide Free Pick
Bama returns 11 starters this season including just five on defense, but their roster is so deep that the two and three deep could start at most schools. The Trojans will be without Chad Wheeler and may take a step back on offense, so we’re going to call for this game to stay under the posted total line.
Take the UNDER 54