USC football predicted to win the Pac-12 South with new schedule

USC football head coach Clay Helton. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
USC football head coach Clay Helton. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

USC football remains the favorite to win the Pac-12 South under new scheduling.

The Pac-12’s decision to play a 10-game conference-only schedule in 2020 may be a disappointment, but it shouldn’t dampen USC football’s hopes of winning the South division in 2020.

College Football News confirmed as much with their preseason conference predictions, picking USC to win the South and Oregon to win the North.

What about the Pac-12 championship? Sorry Trojans, that one goes to Oregon.

USC football is expected to come out on top in a Pac-12 South dogfight.

College Football News’ projections bode well for the Trojans, but how close to reality will they be?

USC is still projected to lose three games in 2020, falling to Stanford, Oregon and Utah. All three of those are road games, which make them a fair bet since USC has struggled away from home recently.

On the other hand, the Cardinal slipped mightily in 2019 and it’s no certainty they will pick themselves up in 2020. Utah has plenty of concerns to answer as well, having lost so much productivity on offense and defense.

On the plus side, the added game against Washington State is projected as a win.

Tough games at home to Arizona State and Washington are also tapped as victories. If USC could lose to Stanford, they could just as easily fall to those two.

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The margin between a 9-1 campaign and a disastrous 5-5 showing is dangerously thin.

To put it simply, USC wins the Pac-12 in these predictions at 7-3 because CFN expects a lot of losing to go on in the South.

Utah gets a 6-4 record prediction with losses at Washington State, at UCLA, at Cal and against Oregon on the final day of the regular season.

CFN is even more down on ASU. The Sun Devils are projected to go 5-5 with losses at Oregon, at Colorado, home to Utah, at Washington State and at USC. Four of those losses would have to come in consecutive weeks. Ouch.

It doesn’t look any better for dark horse South contender UCLA. The Bruins are expected to have another dismal year under Chip Kelly with just two victories. One, somewhat unbelievably, would come against Utah while the other would be versus Arizona.

That would be worse than 3-7 Colorado, but not as bad as 1-9 Arizona.

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Every year preseason predictions are built on sand. This year, those projections are particularly troublesome to nail down. After all, how does one account for each team’s ability to make up for lost practice time in Spring Camp or their dedication to working out during the coronavirus shutdown or even their Fall Camp stability?

It’s set up to be a wild ride.

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