Our staff gets our predictions for the first game of the season and we unanimously picked USC (I know, shocker.)
Final score and who wins and why?
Trajuan Briggs: 55-7 Trojans. Kessler and the Trojans should put points on the board as the Trojans defense should come up with 3+ turnovers. Expect Adoree' to have a breakout performance on special teams.
Nick Dempsey: 51-16, Trojans win. USC is a more talented group, so a victory should not be terribly surprising. The alleged lack of physicality or aggressiveness is concerning so the Trojans may come out flat, but they should be fine even if Arkansas State does aggressively blitz. I am more concerned with how well the team performs on the line on both sides of the ball than I am with the final score. I want to see the offensive line look experienced and able to open holes and pickup blitzes with fewer plays drawn up to minimize the inexperience of the offensive line like last season. I want to see the depth begin to shine on the defensive line. That will tell us far more about this team than the final score will.
Julian Lopez: USC 48 Ark. St.14. Arkansas State scores first on a field goal but after that, it's all Trojans. Cody Kessler is going to have a field day with the Red Wolves defense and Fredi Knighten is going to be contained by Su'a Cravens and the talented Trojan defense.
Nick Schober: USC 38 Arkansas State 17 - It's been a shaky few weeks, albeit outside of the white lines. Sark himself has said publicly he would like a few more weeks to prepare but I think USC's stellar offense will have no problem putting points on the board. The Trojan's defense will also give up a few more points than anyone would like to admit to Fredi Knighten's dual-threat attack, but it won't be as close as the score suggests.
Michael Mahan: USC wins 41-20.Trojan offense is slow to get going and the game is close at half, but USC pulls away in the 2nd half and wins easily.
Briggs: Tre Madden has 20 carries for 200 yards and three touchdowns. The combination of the o-line and passing game should open up lanes for Madden and put him in position to cap off a lot of big runs.
Dempsey: Adoree’ Jackson does something amazing. Sark and Helton open up the playbook and go for several big plays to help shake the rust off and build confidence. After all the upheaval and turmoil, the tight ends will play better than expected.
Lopez: Cody Kessler has a rushing touchdown and the defense has a touchdown. I'll go with Kevon Seymour.
Schober: I don't think it is unreasonable to expect touchdowns out of Adoree' Jackson on two different sides of the ball. At least one on offense, and one on either special teams or defense.
Mahan: Iman Marshall and Cam Smith will both have an interception, and one of them will be a pick six.
Give us your predictions below.