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Trojans Kick-Off Season in Honolulu

Can Marqise Lee have another big game against Hawaii?

Can Marqise Lee have another big game against Hawaii?

Looking to wash away a miserable 2012, the Southern California Trojans begin the 2013 campaign Thursday with a trip to the Big Pineapple and a showdown with the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors.

While the matchup itself may lack a certain appeal, CBS’ television coverage all but guarantees enough postcard views of the Oahu coastline to make you forget that summer is all too quickly slipping away. The two sides meet at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu with kick-off scheduled for 11:00 p.m. ET (5:00 p.m. local).

Lane Kiffin will look for improvement.

Lane Kiffin will look for improvement.

After beginning the season as the nation’s top-ranked team, the Trojans began 2012 with a 6-1 record before losing four of their last five regular season games and dropping the Hyundai Sun Bowl to the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. A season that was supposed to be QB Matt Barkley’s swansong in cardinal and gold turned out to be a nightmare littered with poor play and some strange decision from Head Coach Lane Kiffin. Kiffin may well be lucky to still be in a job after such a disastrous season, but he’ll look to lead USC to victory this season, starting with Thursday’s trip to Hawaii.

USC wasn’t the only school struggling last season. In its first year in the Mountain West Conference, Hawaii began the season with a 49-10 loss to the Trojans at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum before picking up a win over the FCS’ Lamar University. From there, the school went on to lose eight straight. Things looked a bit brighter for Head Coach Norm Chow, in his first year in charge, as the Rainbow Warriors won their last two games of the season to finish 3-9. Still, it was the school’s second straight losing season and third in four years.

Both sides will look to use 2013 to move on to bigger and better things.

Southern California will open the season ranked No. 24 in the AP Poll. It may be a hefty drop from No. 1, but for a team that underachieved last year, is missing some key players this season and is still unsure of its starting quarterback, No. 24 may actually be optimistic.

The Trojans will be without Barkley as well as WR Robert Woods, C Khaled Holmes and S T.J. McDonald, all of whom went pro this spring. Fortunately, the team will see WR Marqise Lee, a Heisman favorite, return for his junior season.

Lee had a huge game against Hawaii in last season’s opener, catching 10 passes for 197 yards and a touchdown, and returning a kickoff 100 yards for a TD. The performance began what would be a stellar year, one that saw the sophomore mentioned in Heisman talks late in the season. But can Lee have another season like that?

If he does, Kiffin will need to pick a starting quarterback sooner rather than later. BettingSports.com reported on Tuesday that the USC coach had stated that both Max Wittek and Cody Kesler will get a shot under center in Thursday’s game in Honolulu.

RB Silas Redd, who rushed for 905 yards and nine TDs a year ago, is expected to see more of the football after senior Curtis McNeil (701 yards) finished school.

Sean Schroeder returns at quarterback for Hawaii.

Sean Schroeder returns at quarterback for Hawaii.

Hawaii meanwhile returns 19 starters, and will be hoping consistency is enough to propel the team forward. QB Sean Schroeder is just one of those players looking to improve. He tallied 1,878 yards and 11 touchdowns a year ago, but 12 interceptions marred that record. Leading receiver Billy Ray Stutzmann and leading rusher Will Gregor also return to the fold.

Southern Cal Trojans vs. Hawaii Rainbow Warriors odds for 8/29/13 are available now.

USC_HAWSouthern California leads the all-time head-to-head 6-0, with a 4-0 record in games played at Aloha Stadium. Unsurprisingly then, the Trojans (-1300) opened as the favorite over Hawaii (+894) on the moneyline.

The spread opened at 21 ½ but has subsequently risen to 23 with most sportsbooks.

Last season, both USC (3-10-0 ATS) and Hawaii (4-7-0 ATS) were horrible against the spread. The Trojans compiled a 0-6-0 ATS record away from home and a 5-8-0 ATS record as the favorite. The Rainbow Warriors meanwhile were 2-3-0 ATS at home and 3-7-0 ATS as the underdog.

Last season it was Hawaii that covered the spread; the Trojans’ 39-point victory was not quite enough to top the closing spread of 43 ½. However, USC has historically beaten Hawaii by an average of 33 points, and has won by 22 or more in four of six meetings.

The over/under opened at 58 but has subsequently dropped to 53 with a number of sports books, including BetOnline and Bookmaker.

Last season, the Trojans (5-8-0) favored the under while the Rainbow Warriors (6-4-0) favored the over. The September 1 meeting between the two finished the total going under the 62 ½ marker set.

The two schools have failed to score more than 53 points in just one of six meetings, the first time the two met (1978), suggesting the over might still be the smart bet.

Odds for all of Week 1’s major College Football games can be found at the BettingSports.com NCAAF odds page.

For a full list of College Football Futures from Bovada, click here.

Bovada also has an extensive selection of Player Prop bets and Team Prop bets.

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