Whether or not Sam Darnold and the USC Trojans are ready for NCAA football betting stardom is a question the answer to which we will begin to learn when USC faces the Western Michigan Broncos.
- Date: Saturday, September 2nd
- Time: 5:20 PM
- Venue: L. A. Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, California
Online Sportsbook College Football Betting Lines:
Western Michigan +27½ (-110) +2750
USC -27½ (-110) -6000
The scrimmage that makes you grimace
As the favorite to win the Heisman Trophy, Trojans quarterback Sam Darnold has a huge target on his back.
— Takkarist McKinley (@Takk) July 11, 2017
However, the 2016 Pac-12 Offensive Freshman of the Year has enough problems in-house to worry about Takkarist McKinley putting a hit on him. Namely, USC’s 70-play scrimmage on Saturday was like the Magic Mirror Gate in which Atreyu faces his true self. And head coach Helton Skelton gazed into an abyss – and the abyss also gazed into him – and what he saw was that the defense is light years ahead of the offense. Put another way, it is not uncommon for the defense to be ahead of the offense during training camp, but in this case there pretty much isn’t any offense to speak off.
It is conspicuous by its absence. “Obviously, we’ve got a lot of work to do,” Helton said per the Los Angeles Daily News. “Once we get into playbook mode and that whole bible becomes just one specific game plan, I think it’s gonna help them a bunch.” The 2016 Trojans started 1-3 but then won nine games in a row, including the Rose Bowl – a run that coincided with Darnold taking over the starting QB spot. USC is the NCAA football betting favourite to win the Pac 12 Conference Championship.
The tight end justifies the means
Western Michigan won the 2016 MAC Championship but these are by no means the same Broncos as last year.
Gone are head coach P. J. Fleck, offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca, and defensive coordinator Ed Pinkham. In theirs stead WMU brought in Kevin Johns, Jake Moreland, and Tim Daoust (respectively). Also gone is wide receiver Corey Davies, drafted by the Tennessee Titans. the only returning wideouts are Keishawn Watson and D’Wayne Eskridge. As a result, the Broncos’ passing game will shift to rely more on tight ends such as Donnie Ernsberger. “[Offensive coordinator Kevin] Johns has a great plan and puts us into the middle of the defense and finds the openings for the tight ends to slip in,” Ernsberger said at WMU Media Day on Saturday.
“There’s similar route concepts, but the way they are put together, there are more openings for every player on the team. It’s going to be spread around and should be more evenly distributed.” Ernsberger was the only tight end on WMU’ roster to finish with a reception – nine of them in fact. He is a NCAA football betting favourite to win the John Mackey Award is presented annually to college football’s most outstanding tight end. Ernsberg is also expected to become a preferred target of new starting quarterback Jon Wassink.