Texas Longhorns vs. USC Trojans
Date and Time: Saturday, September 16, 2017, 8:30 p.m. ET
Location: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, CA
Opening College Football Odds: USC -14
Texas vs. USC TV Coverage: FOX
Herman is officially off to mark at his "dream job." The Longhorns haven't had many games since VY left for the NFL in which they looked like the absolutely superior team, but they did against San Jose State in a 56-0 victory. A perfect game, it wasn't, but the Horns looked great on both sides of the ball for sure.
The notable change came at the quarterback spot. Shane Buechele was ruled out against San Jose State with a shoulder injury. We're not sure if he's going to be back in time to face the Men of Troy, but Sam Ehlinger did a nice job in his place in his first career game. The freshman had some bumps in the road, but he went 15-for-27 for 222 yards with a touchdown, adding 48 more yards on the ground.
Texas dominated the ball, holding it for 38:59 en route to 623 total yards. But of course, this is San Jose State we're talking about, not USC, and replicating that, especially with a freshman under center, is going to be difficult.
Sam Darnold was far from perfect for USC against Stanford in Week 2, but that win almost quietly flew under the radar as impressive as the 42-24 victory was. Darnold went 21-of-26 for 316 yards with four touchdowns against one of the better defenses in the Pac-12. Sure, he threw two picks, but all was forgotten thanks to a performance featuring 623 yards of offense, the most David Shaw's team has conceded during his tenure.
The Trojans have now won 11 consecutive games dating back to last season, including some really impressive romps against great teams. This Texas team probably isn't amongst the greats, but considering the magnitude of the program itself, the Trojans would be well-served to put this one in the win column with ease before going on the road for what promise to be high-scoring affairs against both California and Washington State.
We don't highlight big uglies all that often in these betting articles, but Texas' offensive linemen have to be stout in this game. The Trojans have allowed a 100-yard rusher in each of their first two games this season, and clearly, their defensive front has been the weakest part of their game thus far.
Connor Williams is one of the best left tackles in America, and he's sure to be a first-rounder when his time comes for the NFL Draft. That said, there are four senior starters on this team that have cut their teeth for a long time under new offensive coordinator after new offensive coordinator; this is six OCs in six seasons for the Horns.
Texas vs. USC Free Picks
All of the top college football sportsbooks are predicting USC to win this game by double-digits, but we aren't so sure that the Longhorns aren't live in this game, even if Buechele is out of the fold. The game against Maryland was a stern reminder that this Texas team is a ways away from being National Championship material, but Herman is a great coach, and the talent is clearly here for this side.
Should Chris Warren II have another good game for the men in burnt orange, Bevo could be romping around at the Coliseum after one of the more stunning upsets in the early season.
College Football ATS Pick: Play Texas at BookMaker.eu
College Football Score Prediction: Texas 33, USC 31