USC football 2017 schedule and analysis – Orange County Register

USC’s schedule remains among the more challenging slates in the nation, with no bye week for the first time since 1995 and non-conference matchups with Texas in September and Notre Dame in October. There is some respite at least: The Trojans won’t face Alabama in the season opener.

SATURDAY VS. WESTERN MICHIGAN

2:15 p.m., L.A. Coliseum

USC will face an opponent from the Mid-American Conference for the first time in program history.

SEPT. 9 VS. STANFORD

5:30 p.m., L.A. Coliseum

This will be the early-season test. Stanford has twice defeated USC since Clay Helton took over as the interim coach in 2015, winning both games by an average of almost three touchdowns. The Trojans’ last win over the Cardinal was in 2014.

SEPT. 16 VS. TEXAS

5:30 p.m., L.A. Coliseum

After the Trojans started last season 1-3, some fans began clamoring for Houston coach Tom Herman to lead the program. Instead, they rebounded and Herman took over at Texas, where he began his coaching career as a graduate assistant. The Longhorns figure to improve after underwhelming 5-7 finishes the past two seasons. The glitzy non-conference matchup is also the teams’ first meetings since they played for the BCS national championship.

SEPT. 23 AT CAL

TBA, California Memorial Stadium, Berkeley.

Could the Golden Bears end a 13-game losing streak and upset USC for the first time since 2003? It will have some familiarity with Clay Helton’s bunch. New coach Justin Wilcox was the Trojans’ defensive coordinator in 2014 and 2015.

SEPT. 29 AT WASHINGTON STATE

7:30 p.m., Pullman, Wash.

Because of the Pac-12 scheduling rotation, USC and Washington State will meet for the first time since 2014. The Cougars were routed then, but since put together a nine-win season and an eight-win season. Will the Trojans be caught looking ahead? Will they handle a tight, six-day turnaround? This is the only weeknight game on the schedule.

OCT. 7 VS. OREGON STATE

TBA, L.A. Coliseum

It’s tough to gauge what USC should expect from the Beavers, who also return to USC’s conference schedule for the first time since 2014. They were thought to be poised for a surge in year three under Gary Andersen, but were routed by 31 points in their season opener last weekend at Colorado State.

OCT. 14 VS. UTAH

TBA, L.A. Coliseum

When was USC’s last loss? That was late September 2016. With Sam Darnold making his first start at quarterback, the Trojans were undone by three turnovers, and the Utes stormed late for a 31-27 victory….

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