Rice @ USC
Rice +32½ -110 over USC

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Posted at 9:00 AM EST and odds are subject to change.

Rice 32½ over USC

Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum - Los Angeles, CA

Streaming: PAC-12 Network

6:00 PM EST. In case you were wondering where USC ranks these days on the national prestige scale, look no further than former Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley leaving Norman (where he went 55-10 with the Oklahoma Sooners) for the sunny skies of Southern California. Don’t think Riley left empty-handed though, as he bought Heisman Trophy hopeful quarterback Caleb Williams with him from Oklahoma, as well as receiver Mario Williams. The Williams’ weren’t the only major transfer the Trojans picked up in the offseason, as former Pitt standout and #2 ranked wideout in the nation Jordan Addison also joins USC. Addison won the Biletnikoff Award as the best receiver in college football last season. In short, the Trojans have restocked the cupboards and are totally loaded. On paper.

The Trojans have revamped their defense as well with coordinator Alex Grinch coming over with Riley to run this unit. Dude has some work to do, as the Trojans allowed an inflated 31.8 points per game last season. Like the offense, there is talent here, but it might take some time for the players and the new system to gel. Therefore, spotting inflated points in Game 1 cannot be recommended.

Rice is Rice. Nobody expects them to win this game. Nobody expected them to compete with Arkansas to open last season either, but the Owls took a 10-7 lead into half-time in that game and were tied 17-17 after three quarters as a 19½ point underdog. The Razorbacks would win the game, but they got a hell of a scare.

For many blueblood programs, Week 1 is a chance to hit the ground with a weak opponent before taking on someone a little more their own size. For USC, it’s not different, as they have Pac-12 rivals Stanford on deck. By contrast, the Owls motivation level will be soaring, as they get another crack at a Power-5 program. Riley and the Trojans are not going to be looking to give anything away today, making these inflated points easy to pick up and put in our back pockets.

Our Pick

Rice +32½ -110 (Risking 2.20 units - To Win: 2.00)

Texas A&M -2 -107 over Arkansas
Iowa State -2½ -110 over Baylor
Buffalo +195 over Eastern Michigan
Texas Tech +7 -110 over Texas
Louisiana Tech +13 -110 over South Alabama
Oregon State +185 over USC