For the second year in a row to wrap up a home-and-home series, the USC Trojans and Hawaii Warriors will square off to start the season. Last year, the Trojans rolled Hawaii in the Coliseum 49-10 with Matt Barkley tossing four touchdown passes and Marqise Lee kicking off his Biletnikoff Award winning campaign with 10 catches for 197 yards and a touchdown. This year, USC travels to paradise to take on the Warriors and they bring plenty of questions with them this time.
The biggest question for Lane Kiffin and his team as they take on the Warriors is under center. Max Wittek and Cody Kessler have competed to a dead heat in the competition to replace Barkley as the starting quarterback and Kiffin can’t seem to make a decision on the matter. He plans on using both in the opener against Hawaii, presumably alternating drives as he switches them in and out. That poses some serious questions about the rhythm of the offense as neither quarterback will have had the time to build much chemistry with the talented group of skill position players the Trojans enjoy.
They may not need much chemistry, however, as their talent should be more than enough to get them the win. Hawaii is a program in the middle of a reboot and things are tumultuous within the program. Head coach Norm Chow opened fall camp by dismissing his offensive coordinator, creating some uncertainty about the direction the offense is headed. He does not have his starting quarterback from 2012 back in senior Sean Schroeder, after the signal caller underwent back surgery this spring. Instead, he will turn to his 16 returning starters at other key positions to lead Hawaii in 2013.
While there are plenty of questions that could result in a slugglish start for USC, the Trojans simply have too much talent for an overmatched Hawaii squad. The Warrior might be able to ride the emotion of playing at home to keep the game close early, but they just don’t have the talent to keep the Trojans’ playmakers in check for long.