Hector Aguilar - USA Today

USC Trojans: Breaking Down the Nations Toughest College Football Schedule

What makes USC’s schedule the most difficult in the nation? A game-by-game breakdown of weather, opponents and preparation time for all twelve of the 2016 USC Trojan football games.

Opponent #1 Alabama Crimson Tide
Date September 3, 2016
Time 5 p.m. PT
Location Arlington, TX
Weather N/A (Indoor)
Surface Field Turf
Crimson Tide Prep Offseason
Crimson Tide Previous
N/A (1st game)
Crimson Tide Next Western Kentucky
Trojans Prep Offseason
Trojans Previous N/A (1st game)
Trojans Next Utah State
Prep Advantage None
Opponent Advantage Even

USC v Alabama Overview:   This is the closest thing to an all-things being equal for a heavy weight football fight. This is the second year in a row the Crimson Tide have opened their season at AT&T Stadium giving them a slight scheduling advantage.    

Dahlia Dominguez
Opponent Utah State Aggies
Date September 10, 2016
Time 11:00 a.m. PT
Location Los Angeles, CA
Weather 84 and sunny
Surface Grass
Aggies Prep 9 days
Aggies Previous Weber State
Aggies Next Arkansas State
Trojans Prep 7 days
Trojans Previous Alabama (@Arlington, TX)
Trojans Next @Stanford
Prep Advantage Aggies 
Opponent Advantage Aggies
L.A. Sports:  UCLA Bruins vs. UNLV ( 5:00 pm PT)
Last Year Did not play
Last at Coliseum USC 17 - Utah State 14 (2013)

Utah State @USC Overview:   The classic ‘trap game’ is trumped by ‘home opener’ for the Trojans.  There are no conflicts in the L.A. sports scene to kick off the home opener for ‘SC.  The crosstown rival, UCLA, will play well after the conclusion of the USC game.  The outcome of the USC versus Alabama game could have a lot to do with the home crowd size, but not as much as the fan-unfriendly 11 am kickoff time to accommodate the Pac-12 Networks. 

Opponent #8 Stanford Cardinal
Date September 17, 2016
Time 5 p.m. PT
Location Palo Alto, CA
Weather 70's and sunny
Surface Grass
CardinalPrep 14 days
CardinalPrevious Bye
CardinalNext @UCLA
TrojansPrep 7 days
TrojansPrevious Alabama (@Arlington, TX)
TrojansNext @Utah (Fri.)
Prep Advantage Cardinal
Opponent Advantage Cardinal
Last Year: 

Stanford 41- USC 31

Stanford 41 - USC 22 (Pac-12)

Last at Palo Alto

USC 13 - Stanford 10 (2014)

USC at Stanford Overview:   USC has played Stanford very well in Palo Alto in the 2000’s, but the Cardinal hold a major advantage when it comes to the previous meetings, preparation time and stopping some guy named Christian McCaffery.  

Opponent Utah Utes
Date September 23, 2016 (Fri.)
Time 6 p.m. PT
Location Salt Lake City, UT
Weather Low 70’s to high 60’s and clear
Surface Field Turf
UtesPrep 6 days
UtesPrevious San Jose State
UtesNext @Cal
TrojansPrep 6 days
TrojansPrevious @Stanford
TrojansNext Arizona State
Prep Advantage Even
Opponent Advantage Utes
Last Year: 

USC 42 - Utah 24

Last at Rice-Eccles

Utah 24 - USC 21 (2014)

USC at Utah Overview:  The movie ‘300’ comes to mind for the Men of Troy.  Back-to-back tough conference road games on Friday night at Rice-Eccles is a major advantage for the Utes.   There is some good news for the Trojans, the weather should not be a factor this early in the season. 

Opponent Arizona State Sun Devils
Date October 1, 2016
Time TBD
Location Los Angeles, CA
Weather 70's and sunny
Surface Grass
Sun Devils Prep 7 days
Sun Devils Previous Cal
Sun Devils Next UCLA
Trojans Prep 8 days
Trojans Previous @Utah
Trojans Next Colorado
Prep Advantage  Trojans
Opponent Advantage Even
L.A. Sports:  UCLA v Arizona (TBD)
Last Year USC 42 – ASU 14
Last at Coliseum ASU – USC (2014)

Arizona State at USC Overview: USC finally returns home to the Coliseum after back-to-back tough road games to avenge the ‘Jael Mary’ Sun Devil miracle of 2014.   UCLA will host Arizona at the Rose Bowl creating a potential conflict, but there are no other regular season pro games in town.   

Opponent Colorado Buffaloes
Date October 8, 2016
Time TBD
Location Los Angeles, CA
Weather 70's and sunny
Surface Grass
7 days
Oregon State
Trojans Prep 7 days
Trojans Previous ASU
Trojans Next @Arizona
Prep Advantage Even
Opponent Advantage Buffaloes
L.A. Sports:  Rams vs Bills (Sun.)
Last Year USC 27 – CU 24
Last at Coliseum USC 56 – CU 28 (2014)

Colorado at USC Overview:  This concludes the first of two back-to-back home stretches for the Trojans in 2016. With no crosstown competition or local pro games, USC should maximize it's home field advantage potential.  The Buffs have had a difficult time playing in Los Angeles this decade.  

Opponent Arizona Wildcats
Date October 15, 2016
Time TBD
Location Tucson, AZ
Weather 70's and sunny
Surface Field Turf
WildcatsPrep  7 days
WildcatsPrevious @Utah
WildcatsNext Stanford (10/29)
TrojansPrep 7 days
TrojansPrevious Colordo
TrojansNext Cal (Thur.)
Prep Advantage Even
Opponent Advantage Trojans
Last Year: 

USC 38 – Arizona 30

Last at Wildcat Stadium

USC 28 – Arizona 26 (2014)

USC at Arizona Overview:   It will have been 22 days since last road game for the Trojans. The Tucson weather should not be an issue for USC in mid-October.   The Wildcats will be coming off a tough road trip to Utah the week before.   

Opponent California Golden Bears
Date October 27, 2016 (Thur.)
Time    7:30 pm PT
Location Los Angeles, CA
Weather  60's and clear
Surface Grass
Golden Bears Prep
6 days
Golden Bears Previous
Oregon (Fri.)
Golden Bears Next
Trojans Prep 12 days
Trojans Previous @Arizona
Trojans Next Oregon
Prep Advantage Trojans
Opponent Advantage Trojans
L.A. Sports:  L.A. Kings vs Predators
Last Year USC  27 – Cal 21
Last at Coliseum USC 38 – Cal 30

Cal at USC Overview:   USC has its first major prep advantage of the season with a late start time for the traditionally slow- arriving L.A. crowd for a Thursday night game.  The L.A. Kings are the only other local sports event in town at 7:30 pm PT.  The Trojans have rattled off twelve straight victories over the Cal Bears. 

Opponent #25 Oregon Ducks
Date November 5, 2016
Time    TBD
Location Los Angeles, CA
Weather 60's and clear
Surface Grass
Ducks Prep
7 days
Ducks Previous
Ducks Next
Trojans Prep 9 days
Trojans Previous Cal (Thur.)
Trojans Next UCLA
Prep Advantage Trojans
Opponent Advantage Even
L.A. Sports: 

Rams v Panthers (Sun at 1:05 pm),

L.A. Kings v Flames (7:00 pm)

Last Year Oregon 48 - USC 28
Last at Coliseum Oregon 62 - USC 51 (2012)

Oregon at USC Overview:   USC has a slight prep advantage going into this game.  The media should be focused on the Ducks vs. Trojan match-up with only the L.A. Kings vying for the Los Angeles sports audience that Saturday.   The last time the Trojans beat the Ducks at home was in 2008 and some guy named Pete Carroll roamed the Trojan sidelines. 

Opponent #14 Washington Huskies
Date November 12, 2016
Time TBD
Location Seattle, WA
Weather 50’s and rain
Surface Field Turf
HuskiesPrep  7 days
HuskiesPrevious @Cal
HuskiesNext ASU
TrojansPrep 7 days
TrojansPrevious Oregon
TrojansNext @UCLA
Prep Advantage Even
Opponent Advantage Huskies
Last Year: 

Washington 17 – USC 12

Last at Wildcat Stadium

USC 24 – Washington 14  (2012)

USC at Washington Overview:   The previous time the two teams met in Seattle in 2012, Lane Kiffin and Steve Sarkisian were the head coaches.  This time around the Dawgs could be ranked and will have both wet weather and a potentially packed house on their side.   

Opponent  #16 UCLA Bruins
Date November 19, 2016
Time TBD
Location Los Angeles, CA
Weather Low 70’s to high 60’s and clear
Surface Grass
BruinsPrep 7 days
BruinsPrevious Oregon State
BruinsNext @Cal
TrojansPrep 7 days
TrojansPrevious Washington
TrojansNext Notre Dame
Prep Advantage Even
Opponent Advantage Bruins
Last Year: 

USC 40 - UCLA 21

Last at Rose Bowl

UCLA 38 - USC 20 (2014)


USC at UCLA Overview:   The schedule plays out perfectly for this rivalry game to find out who will own Los Angeles. The USC versus UCLA game will be the only local sporting event with the Lakers, Clippers, Rams and Kings all either idle or away.  The Bruins have both a previous opponent and home field advantage. The Bruins have not lost to USC at home since 2010.


Dahlia Dominguez
Opponent #10 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Date November 26, 2016
Time    TBD
Location Los Angeles, CA
Weather 60's and clear
Surface Grass
Fighting Irish Prep
7 days
Fighting Irish Previous
Virginia Tech
Fighting Irish Next
Bowl Game
Trojans Prep 7 days
Trojans Previous @UCLA
Trojans Next Pac-12 Title or Bowl Game
Prep Advantage Even
Opponent Advantage Fighting Irish
L.A. Sports: 

L.A. Kings v Blackhawks (7:30 pm PT)

Last Year Notre Dame 41 – USC 31
Last at Coliseum USC 49 - Notre Dame 14 (2014)

Notre Dame at USC Overview:  The scheduling has given both the Trojans and Irish equal prep time and quality previous opponents to keep their game planning honest.  Around the Los Angeles sports landscape, UCLA is at Cal Berkeley and the Lakers and Clippers are off leaving the Kings as the only local sports competition that Saturday.  All eyes should be on the Coliseum. 

Dahlia Dominguez

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