The USC Trojans have officially had three of their games canceled for the 2020 college football season. With the conference’s move to a Pac-12-only schedule in 2020, USC saw their much anticipated game against Alabama, among others, canceled on the spot.
That game, scheduled for September 5 in Arlington, Texas is joined by a contest between New Mexico, at home on September 12 and another home game against Notre Dame on November 28.
That leaves their nine conference games as their schedule right now, though the Pac-12 may announce further schedule changes or even a full cancellation of the season at a date ‘no later than July 31.’
So, how does their schedule stack up, and where do we think that USC can bring in the wins this year with their remaining schedule intact? Let’s take a week-by-week look and spot ESPN’s FPI win % index as well.
Sat, Sept 19 @ Stanford — 68.1%
Sat, Sept 26 vs Arizona State — 88.9%
Fri, Oct 2 @ Utah — 60.9%
Sat, Oct 10 vs Cal — 85.9%
Sat, Oct 17 @ Arizona — 82.8%
Sat, Oct 31 vs Colorado — 94.7%
Sat, Nov 7 @ Oregon — 31.0%
Sat, Nov 14 vs Washington — 80.4%
Sat, Nov 21 @ UCLA — 81.1%
ESPN now gives USC a 2.3% chance of winning out and puts them with a project win-loss record of 7.0-2.6 in their simulations. They have a 27.5% chance of winning the conference as only Oregon ranks higher in both FPI and conference win percentage.
ESPN gives USC the 27th-ranked strength of schedule, even with the canceled games, this season.
If I was a betting man, I’d say Oregon rides the strength of their secondary to a win against all teams except USC and the legend of Kedon Slovis wins that game outright. It’d just be a matter of no minor lapse in any of the other contests for the Trojans to go undefeated in the 2020 season — and as much as we all wanted Alabama and Notre Dame — that likely wouldn’t have been the case had those games been on the schedule too.
We’ll all see, of course, as there are still likely more announcements on whether or not we even get a fall schedule this year, but at this time, that’s what we got, and that’s what we can hang our hats on.