The Trojans open up their 2013 campaign tonight on Oahu, as Lane Kiffin squares up against his former boss, Norm Chow. USC is coming off a 7-6 season, while Hawaii had an equally-disappointing 3-9 year in 2012, making for a game in which both teams will be desperate to set an early tone for the year. How will it play out? We have some ideas…
Michael Castillo | USC 37, Hawaii 13: USC’s offense will likely be sporadic to start with, as it’s not only the season’s first game, but it will be the first game of the post-Barkley era. Hawaii will presumably attempt to bog Lee down as much as possible, giving the Trojans time and space to work out new wrinkles in the offense, including the multi-headed backfield. Defensively, the Trojans return the entire front seven and even with a talented quarterback in Taylor Graham for the Rainbows, a weak offensive line will make it awfully hard on Hawaii. Trojans should win comfortably, though it’ll be far from flawless, as you would expect with a season opener. The Fighting Chows will be ready.
Charles Gilmore | USC 42, Hawaii 17: I would like to see Lane Kiffin call a balanced game, with a bit of emphasis on the run. It is clear that he can’t have a repeat of the play calling and schemes he put together last year. This game could be a great indicator as to how he plans to call plays this year. If it is Marqise Lee on every play it could be a problematic year. The Trojans have the ability to establish their will and set the tempo for this game and get a lot of young players some valuable game experience.
Benjamin Ehrenberg | USC 49, Hawaii 10: Cody Kessler starts the game and has three touchdown passes, two long bombs to Nelson Agholor and the other on a wheel route to full back Jahleel Pinner. The new 5-2 defense will be dominant throughout, with DE Leonard Williams, LB Devon Kennard, and LB Morgan Breslin combining for five sacks. Tre Madden runs for over 100 yards and scores two touchdowns. Wittek plays sparingly only in fourth quarter garbage time and the QB competition is effectively ended with Kessler as the starter for the rest of the season.