(20) USC Trojans vs (1) Alabama Crimson Tide
USC: I remember at one time; this was the team to beat in all of college football. They had all the top players in the nation and it looked like they could never be beaten. The last few years have been anything but successful for the USC Trojans and the one thing I can say is we aren’t focused on what they used to be, it’s who they are now. They enter the 2016 season with a new head coach. Steve Sarkisian was fired last year during the season and Clay Helton became the interim head coach and now they’ve removed the interim tag and made him the guy to lead the Trojans. On the field, Max Browne will be their starting quarterback and star wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster returns after putting together a season of 89 receptions, 1,454 yards receiving and ten touchdowns so he will be the go to guy in the passing attack. The Trojans have a total of seven wins over teams that have been ranked number one and they would make a big statement if they could win number eight over the defending champions on Saturday night.
Alabama: It’s always the same series of events with them They’re always considered one of, if not, the favorite to win it all, They begin the season in top three of the rankings and they lose guys to the NFL, but always stock up ad fill those holes and that’s what has made them such a great team along with having Nick Saban as their head coach. They’ll have a new quarterback to replace Jake Coker this year and two running backs by the name of Bo Scarborough and Damien Harris as they both have big shoes to fill in replacing Derrick Henry and both these guys can their names to the list of Bama running backs over the years. It’s another year, another championship to defend and they will look to show again on Saturday night that they are the favorites to repeat as champions once again when they face another storied university in USC at JerryWorld, a place where they’ve done very well over the years.
USC X Factor: The offensive line- USC is returning all five starters from a year ago and they will need to be on their A game facing this regrouped Alabama defensive line led by pass rushers Jonathan Allen and Tim Williams. If they can control the line of scrimmage and keep Browne protected in that pocket, they’ll have success.
Alabama X Factor: The running game- Scarborough and Harris will have the offense built around them until the quarterback can get comfortable. The running game is a new quarterback’s best friend along with the short passing game. I see these two forcing teams to load the box so the quarterback is able to use his play action to get shots down the field.
Prediction: Two of the most storied universities in college football. What Alabama is now is what USC once was at one time when Pete Carroll was running the ship in Southern California. I like Alabama to start the season strong and get a victory. Bama 38 USC 20