College Footbal Pick
Alabama closed last season in the biggest Game of the year and they’ll open 2016 with the biggest Game of the first weekend, taking on USC at AT&T Stadium. The Trojans were hoping to bounce back from a mostly disappointing season in Cody Kessler’s senior year, finishing 8-6, but a neutral-site Game against ‘Bama isn’t exactly the best way to recover. The Crimson Tide are favored, as expected, by -10.5 points at 5 Dimes Sportsbook.
It’s nothing new for Alabama this season. They have a lot of turnover, but are the AP preseason No. 1 team, even with questions at various positions. Most importantly, just two weeks before this Game, Nick Saban still hadn’t decided on a starting quarterback with Cooper Bateman, Blake Barnett and Jalen Hurts all in the competition. Usually, that hasn’t been a huge deal for the Tide, as their offensive line will be one of the best in the nation, led by dominant left tackle Cam Robinson. And sophomore running back Bo SCarbrough is the next ‘Bama running back in line to take the nation by storm.
But at receiver, the options are some of the best around with both Calvin Ridley and ArDarius Stewart leading the way. The problem is that they have to get the ball. With a new quarterback in charge, it’s a wonder how much the Tide will be passing, especially in the first Game.
The Trojans have a good defense, but it’s nowhere near the level of what Alabama has produced. The Trojans allowed 40-plus points multiple times last year and have a mostly new front seven. Sure, the secondary is experienced, but how will they deal with the dominant Tide offensive line?
To keep up, it’s going to fall to new starting quarterback Max Browne, whose had limited experience at the collegiate level with just 19 pass attempts. That said, the Trojans have loads of talent surrounding the QB starting with RBs Justin Davis and Ronald Jones, who should be one of the best one-two duos in the country. Then Browne still has JuJu Smith-SChuster and Darreus Rogers in the receiving Game.
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Both of these teams have talent, obviously, as they constantly have the best recruiting classes. But Alabama is the only one putting those classes together for good use, as they’ve dominated college football for a while now. USC would like to get to that level, but inconsistent play has been a detriment to overall prospects.
New head coach Clay Helton would like the Trojans to get back to the Pac-12 title Game every year and compete on a national level with teams like Alabama. But that doesn’t happen overnight. And losing to teams like Wisconsin in bowl Games isn’t the best way to start that.
It’s hard to imagine a QB with only 19 College pass attempts having much success against a Nick Saban coached Alabama defense. But then again, it looks as though the Tide may have their own struggles on the offensive side of the ball early on.
This is the type of Game where we love to take a look at the underdog in the 1st quarter and 1st half. The adrenaline and motivational factors alone can make a tram better than they really are, albeit for a short time.
We think USC keeps this close in a Game that sees fewer points than most think. Below we have 4 recommendation.
USC + 1st quarter
USC +1st Half