USC Football Roundup: Projecting Projan starters and more (5/8)

PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 31: JuJu Smith-Schuster
PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 31: JuJu Smith-Schuster /

Projans are projected as starters in the AFC while Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott is getting paid. Here’s the USC football roundup for May 8th.

USC has four dozen or so representatives in the NFL at the moment, but how many of that number will be starters going into the 2018 season?

Gregg Rosenthal at is undergoing the task of projecting starters for every NFL team following the draft, giving some insight into that question.

With only the AFC North and AFC East complete, the picture isn’t totally clear at this moment, but we know a few Projans likely to top the depth chart.

JuJu Smith-Schuster is slated to start for the Steelers while T.J. McDonald is projected as a starting safety for the Dolphins.

Sam Darnold gets a nod with the Jets as a rookie starter as well, with Leonard Williams holding down his spot on the defensive line.

Larry Scott getting paid

Larry Scott and a host of other Pac-12 executives aren’t hurting for money these days.

USA Today reports Scott made $4.8 million, with base compensation of $3.5 million, as the Pac-12 commissioner in 2016. That makes him the highest paid commissioner in college football.

Another nine conference executives took home no less than $450,000 in total compensation for the 2016 financial year.

The Pac-12’s revenue is up, topping $500 million for the first time, but the conference isn’t exactly on the strongest footing compared to others. It’s up to the Pac-12 presidents to decide if that’s worth higher compensation or not.

National title odds

USC’s odds to win the national title currently sit at 40/1, per Phil Steele. The Trojans are even with West Virginia and Virginia Tech, but ahead of Notre Dame at 50/1, for what it’s worth.

Tough non-conference

On Monday, we pointed out how CBS Sports’ ranking of all 130 college football teams revealed the strength (and difficulty) of USC’s road schedule.

More from Reign of Troy

On Tuesday, Athlon looked at non-conference schedules in the Pac-12, grading USC’s as the second-toughest behind only UCLA.

The Bruins travel to face Oklahoma while hosting Cincinnati and Fresno State. The Trojans slate of UNLV, Texas on the road and Notre Dame may be collectively more challenging, but that trip to Norman stands out as one of the most difficult on any Pac-12 schedule.

Ranking JT Daniels

The national media have picked up on the apparent inevitability that JT Daniels will rise to become USC’s starting quarterback in 2018.

On Tuesday, Athlon ranked Daniels No. 67 out of 130 college football quarterbacks going into 2018.

Rookie of the Year

If JT Daniels has the potential to be a freshman star in college football, Sam Darnold certainly has the opportunity to be a Rookie of the Year.

Pro Football Focus listed the new Jets quarterback among their five RoY candidates for the 2018 NFL season, along with Saquon Barkley, Baker Mayfield, Calvin Ridley and Mike Gesicki.

The toughest test for Darnold? Winning the job in the first place.

Trojan Trivia

USC has played a football game in 34 states, as well as the country of Japan. The Trojans have yet to play in Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming.