After coming up just short of making the College Football Playoff in Lincoln Riley’s first season, the USC Trojans return the reigning Heisman Trophy winner in quarterback Caleb Williams and a talented transfer wide receiver in Dorian Singer. The current college football odds put USC’s win total right at 10 victories in 2023.
Can they take the next step by winning the Pac-12 and making the College Football Playoff?
College Football Odds – USC Win Projections: O/U 10 Total Wins
The offense for the Trojans is in a good spot with Williams returning. He was the best player in college football last season and winning the Heisman Trophy is proof of that.
Williams was dominant in his first season out west and had an aura around him. He had a flair for the dramatic as he made his calling card off-script, making incredible throws down the field for big plays.
The Trojans offense does lose running back Travis Dye and wide receiver Jordan Addison to the NFL, but running back MarShawn Lloyd and Singer are both ready to step up into big roles as incoming transfers.
The defense, however, is in an interesting position.
Defensive coordinator Alex Grinch has tried to implement an aggressive defense over the course of his career but was unsuccessful at Oklahoma. His first season at USC, Grinch saw some success with his defense securing 29 takeaways.
But it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows, as his defense allowed a paltry 29.2 points per game.
The defense lost defensive end Tuli Tuipulotu and cornerback Mekhi Blackmon among others, but return linebacker Eric Gentry and add Georgia defensive line transfer Bear Alexander.
Should You Bet on the Trojans this Season?
This is a difficult proposition. Draft Kings Sportsbook has over 10 at even odds at +100, but the under is -120. Vegas setting itself up for a push is interesting, especially with the glut of talent in the Pac-12 this season.
The non-conference includes San Jose State, Nevada, and Notre Dame, with the latter being in South Bend.
They do draw Washington and Utah at home with Oregon posing as their lone difficult road game in conference. Expecting just one loss is a tough sell, but two losses feels difficult as well.
Betting the under feels like the smarter move because just one loss with this schedule doesn’t feel likely.
Bet: Under (-120)