USC Football Week One Preview: Western Michigan

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

 USC Football opens up the season at the Coliseum against Western Michigan this Saturday in what should be a challenging first game for a team with playoff expectations coming into the season. It’ll be the first ever match up between the two schools.

It’s been a long off-season for Trojan fans, and they’ll be thankful to stop talking about the hype around this year’s team and start talking about their on-field performance. USC comes in riding a nine-game win streak, capped off by a thrilling comeback win over Penn State in last year’s Rose Bowl.

The hangover from the Rose Bowl championship has translated into months of hype surrounding the Trojans. Much of this hype has been pointed at QB Sam Darnold, who has handled it with the poise and class you would expect from a USC quarterback.

The match up with Western Michigan should provide the Trojans with an opportunity to see how they stack up against an unfamiliar but formidable opponent. The Broncos finished the 2016 regular season a perfect 13-0 before falling to Wisconsin 24-16 in the Cotton Bowl.

The reigning MAC champions will have a completely different identity this season, as head coach P.J. Fleck left to take the same job at Minnesota. In addition, the Broncos lost quarterback Zach Terrell and FBS career receiving yards leader Corey Davis, who was drafted fifth overall in this past year’s NFL draft.

Coach Fleck was replaced by the former quarterbacks coach at Purdue and Western Michigan alumnus, Tim Lester. Despite the key losses on offense, expectations are still high for the Broncos to repeat as MAC champions. They’ll come into the Coliseum with no fear of the fourth-ranked Trojans.

Here’s some things to consider before the game.