Posted: 12:27 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013
By Avinash Kunnath
Lane Kiffin is in hot water, and USC had their troubles to start off 2013.
USC at Hawaii - Thursday, August 29 8 p.m. p.t - CBS Sports Network
The story of the game - Who will be the Trojans' starting quarterback, and can he lead them to a comfortable victory?
The battle between sophomores Cody Kessler and Max Wittek to earn the official starting spot at quarterback has raged during the entire off-season, and Lane Kiffin has still yet to name a starter. We might not know who won the nod until the Trojan offense takes the field, and then the attention will turn to if the newly appointed head signal caller can lead the Trojans to the dominating win that most expect.
What's at stake for USC? Lane Kiffin's job. A loss would get a very tense season for the Trojans off to a horrific start, and even a close game would immediately fan the flames that are burning all around the much maligned USC coach.
What's at stake for the Pac-12? The conference could really benefit from having USC return to form, and more struggles from them in a game here, would not help that cause.
Pac-12 enemies (Hawaii players to watch)
It's crazy to think about it with the identity the Warriors built up under June Jones, but they were a much better defensive team than offensive team in 2012, and should be again in 2013. Williams led the Warriors in tackles as a freshman, and will assuredly be focused on keeping an eye on Marqise Lee down the field.
LB Art Laurel
Laurel loves to get into the backfield as he led the Moutain West in tackles-for-loss last season and has 13 total sacks in the past two seasons. Laurel is big at 6'0 235 and will assuredly relish the chance to get in the face of a young Trojan quarterback.
USC players on the spot
QB Cody Kessler/Max Wittek
Both of these guys are going to get snaps and both are going to be expected to steer the Trojans' talent-loaded offensive ship to an easy win.
WR Marqise Lee
Lee's Heisman campaign begins Thursday and he's going to be expected not only to hit some home runs for the Trojans to build up their score, but to also bolster his campaign.
To see how the USC quarterback situation plays out and to see the first game of the year for what is probably the nation's most pressured coach at the moment.