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USC Football vs. Boston College: Thoughts and Predictions

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The Trojans are strictly focusing on business this weekend.

The battle begins Saturday night.
The battle begins Saturday night.
Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sport

The Trojans are trying to avoid what every national pundit has put on their shoulders -- an opportunity for a major letdown game, following USC's 13-10 Pac-12 opening victory at Stanford. Boston College will be led by a mobile transfer quarterback Tyler Murphy, who has completed just 52 percent of his passes but has rushed for 210 yards (2 TD) this season.

The Eagles should be riled up about hosting ESPN's Game of the Week, something the Trojans, and their ever-growing media circus surrounding all-things football, have been bestowed with such honor each of the past two weeks.

The weather report suggests Chestnut Hill be somewhat wet, chilly (for Los Angeles standards) and windy -- the types of things one would expect when heading back east for a late-night football game. The Eagles finished last season 7-6, which by most BC accounts was positive, eventually losing their bowl game, 42-19, to Arizona.

Boston College will still try to run the football this season, averaging 240 yards through two games, but it will not mirror the ground-and-pound attack led by Heisman Trophy candidate Andre Williams, who earned just 38 yards in last year's meeting.

WHAT SHOULD WE BE ASKING OURSELVES?

Would the Trojans actually overlook Boston College?

After all the turmoil surrounding this team, USC wouldn't actually overlook an ACC squad who lost their first conference game to Pitt after getting manhandled in the trenches, right?

"With all the adversity we dealt with the past two years, we became a lot closer because of it," defensive lineman Leonard Williams said. That message can be heard across the program, but when your largest draft prospect grits through an injury-plagued 11-tackle game against Stanford, or as he calls "fighting on," the chances of a slip up seem rather slim.

Head coach Steve Sarkisian absorbed a program swimming in controversy, some self produced, other centralized with some players not into what this system wanted to produce. Now with 55 scholarship players on the East Coast trip, the Trojans may be limited in numbers but what else is new when you are talking about USC Football in the post-sanctions era.

WHO ON USC IS BOUND FOR A BIG GAME?

USC was coming off its worst loss in recent memory, an embarrassing 10-7 loss against Washington State. The Trojans rebounded, right from the first play, as full-starting quarterback Cody Kessler fired deep down the field to Marqise Lee. The pass may have been incomplete, but the fans were happy to see the defense tested vertically.

Kessler responded to complete 15 of his next 16 passes, propelling USC's 35-point output in a dominant display over Boston College, a squad with arguably more experience then this season's squad. That's where it all begins -- Cody Kessler should be able to pick apart BC's defense with sharp, quick passes to his favorite target Nelson Agholor.

Among the wide receivers that were limited against Stanford, JuJu Smith should get many more passes coming his way and I'd also expect George Farmer to catch four-to-five passes this week. Once USC starts rolling, the running game duo of Buck Allen and Justin Davis will pound the rock for a near 50-50 split in run-pass play distribution.

WHY TRAVEL TO BOSTON?

The Trojans don't travel to the East Coast much, but plenty of Trojan alumni, fans and students will be beckoning in Boston. When then No. 1, technically No. 2 in the Coaches Poll, USC traveled to MetLife Stadium facing Syracuse during the 2012 season, Trojan Nation was out flooding Time Square on full display. That won't change this weekend.

Boston may be mystified and glorified as a great town based on the assortment of movies that pile through the media, heck even "Ted 2" will highlight all things Boston. Coming from a West Coast kid who's never really seen the side effects of winter weather actually transforming a town, Chestnut Hill certainly looks, feels and sounds like one.

The beautiful manifestation of leaves actually shifting from summer to fall makes for a unique road trip, something you just don't see between the traffic-laden freeways and paved city streets of smog-ridden (yet sunny) downtown Los Angeles.


Conquest Chronicles Game Predictions

Shotgun: It's awesome that BC is honoring Welles Crowther with the Red Bandana inspired gear. It's also great all the BC fans that bring red bandanas will have something to shield their eyes from the Trojans' 41-14 onslaught.

Evan: The Trojans will march in to Alumni Stadium showcasing an 85-play offensive explosion which Boston College will not be able to slow down. USC will jump out to an early lead, finish with a 35-10 non-conference win.

Steven: This game could be more interesting than people think in the first half, but at the end of the day, USC is just too much for Boston College to handle. I'm looking at a 38-21 final.

Jordan: Boston College could easily be a trap game for the Trojans, especially it coming right after the Stanford game. However, Sarkisian will have his team ready to go. After a slow start, USC will leave the Eagles behind and run away with a 41-14 victory.

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