USC Football 2011: Previewing the Minnesota Golden Gophers Game

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USC Football 2011: Previewing the Minnesota Golden Gophers Game
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
USC QB Matt Barkley hands of to RB Marc Tyler in 2010 Minnesota game

The USC Trojans, ranked No. 25 in the Associated Press (AP) poll, kick off their season with the Big Ten’s Minnesota Golden Gophers on September 3 at 12:30 p.m. in the L.A. Coliseum. Yes, fans, the college football season is finally here.

As a warm-up to this game, let’s review the strengths and weaknesses of each team’s offense, defense and special teams. Then we can predict the final score.

Minnesota has a new head football coach and his longtime staff. Head coach Jerry Kill was very successful at Northern Illinois. 

Kill had his fair share of upsets and played the big boys tough with a lot less than he will have at Minnesota, including a $300M stadium to sell to recruits.  However, coming off a 3-9 year, the new coaches have their work cut out for them.

USC’s coaching staff is in their second year except for the addition of WR coach Ted Gilmore from Nebraska this year.

Last season was pretty crazy for the Trojans with the NCAA sanctions, new coaching staff, shortage of scholarship players and an 8-5 record that was nine seconds from 11-2.

Head coach Lane Kiffin and his coaching staff have a tough job with a very inexperienced but talented team, half of which consist of either redshirt or true freshmen.

However, Trojan fans expect an improved team and anything less than a 9-3 record will be a disappointment even though the schedule is difficult. The team wants to win every game, one at a time.

First games are difficult to predict because it is hard to simulate game speed in practice, and USC has not practiced much against a spread offense.

Here are both team's strengths and weaknesses, and the game prediction.

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