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USC Trojans Football 2016: Sporting News Predicts an upset over Alabama

Most of the experts and Vegas are calling for an Alabama win but Sporting News says otherwise and it could very well be because of Lane Kiffin.

USC v Arizona State

The last few remaining moments of the off season are filled with bold predictions. Sporting News has joined in on the bold predictions calling for the USC Trojans to upset the Alabama Crimson Tide. Most of the experts are calling for Alabama to win. Vegas has the Tide as roughly 10 point favorites over the Trojans. This article, however, argues that Lane Kiffin’s ultra-conservative and predictable play calling with a new quarterback will ultimately be Alabama’s downfall. Specifically, Kiffin’s over reliance on bubble screens may very well be the difference maker in this one.

“Unless Kiffin deviates from his predictable and safe playcalling for his new quarterback, especially in that quarterback's first game, bubble screens will be the doom of Alabama's offense.

Score: USC 38, Alabama 33

Of course USC fans are both painfully familiar with, and mostly tired of, bubble screens. Last season the Trojans worked the outside a bit too much with bubble screens and outside runs rather than punching the ball up the middle. Heading to the outside with an offensive line that could not consistently pull in that direction and generally avoiding the middle of the line of scrimmage helped USC earn a reputation for lacking toughness. It also prematurely ended many drives and made it difficult for the Trojans to close out games.

Lacking toughness is certainly something Helton has been working on during this off season but will the bubble screen cause similar headaches for Alabama? It is one thing to know the bubble screen is coming, it is entirely another to try and stop the Tide offense from executing the bubble screen. Given the question marks on the defensive line, and the likelihood of Alabama using the bubble screen it will be important for Cam Smith and the rest of the Trojan linebackers deliver an elite performance if USC is going to pull off the upset.

What are your predictions for USC vs. Alabama, share them in the comments below.

You can read the full article from Sporting News by Lisa Horne here.

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