The time has finally come. The USC Trojans host the Fresno State Bulldogs of the Mountain West Conference in head coach Steve Sarkisian's first game controlling the program. Following a 10-4 campaign, including an impressive display over Fresno State at the Las Vegas Bowl, the Trojans enter 2014 as the No. 15 ranked team overall.
For the first time in nearly 100 years that USC has played the same opponent in consecutive games. USC has won its past 15 openers. Although the Trojans' NCAA sanctions are now behind them, they still sport a limited roster of recruited scholarship players with only 62 scholarship players available for kickoff.
The Trojans have lost only once to a Mountain West Conference foe, and that was to Fresno State in 1992 (24-7). Head coach Tim DeRuyter's two-time defending MWC champ Bulldogs, who won a school record 11 games in 2013, return 15 starters but only five on offense, led by stud wideout Josh Harper.
USC's record in all season openers is 89-23- 8 (.775), with 36 shutout victories. Troy has won its last 15 openers and 17 of the last 19, and USC is 7-2 all-time in the month of August hoping to keep that streak alive to start this regular season.
Game time, TV schedule: 4:30 p.m. PT, Fox Sports 1
Live radio stream: ESPN 710, TuneIn (apps available on Google Play and iTunes)
2013 records: USC 10-4; Fresno State 11-2
Series: USC leads, 2-1
Line: USC by 21
Last meeting: USC won, 45-20, on Dec. 21, 2013, in the Las Vegas Bowl
With a new, and improved, coach at the helm and some major returning pieces on both sides of the ball, the USC Trojans will be a force to be reckoned with. Steve Sarkisian was given a very talented team and he will have plenty to work with as the starting quarterback and one of the best receivers in the nation return from a 10-win squad.