USC vs. Texas: Prediction, pick, odds, spread, line, TV channel, live stream, watch online

It may be dangerous to draw parallels on occasion, but Saturday's game between USC and Texas feels an awful lot like last year's lead-up to their showdown in Los Angeles. That's a good thing, by the way, despite the stakes not being particularly high for this game between two of the biggest programs in college football history.

It may not be the BCS National Championship in early 2006 -- how could it be as massive -- but Texas enters this game beyond desperate to prove it can still compete with other blue bloods around college football. Such was the case a year ago when the Longhorns, coming off a disappointing season-opening loss to Maryland, gave everything USC could handle. That game ended up being one of the most exciting from the early part of the year.

Will Tom Herman get his signature win at the expense of Clay Helton and the Trojans? We will soon find out.

Viewing information

Date: Saturday, Sept. 15 | Time: 8 p.m. ET
Location: Royal Texas Memorial Stadium -- Austin, Texas
TV: FOX | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)

Storylines

USC: This is low-key a tough stretch for the Trojans. Considering the whole schedule, it has a clear case to be the toughest stretch of the season. This is USC's second straight road game and its next game, at home vs. Washington State, is on a short week. Washington was the preseason pick to win the Pac-12 and potentially make the College Football Playoff, but if the Trojans come out of this stretch with at least two wins, they'll be positioned well to make a run the rest of the year. 

Texas: The story is the same as it ever was -- or at least over the past several years. The Longhorns need a marquee win in the worst way. They've yet to beat a top 25 team under Herman, though they've come close on a couple of occasions. In fact, Texas' last win against a ranked opponent came against No. 8 Baylor on Oct. 29, 2016. As it so happens, USC was one of those near-misses a season ago with the Trojans prevailing 27-24 in overtime in a game far closer than expected. A win over USC won't save the season, per se, but it'll get some heat off of Herman's back for the time being. 

Game prediction, picks

On paper, Texas has a better chance of pulling off a win against this USC team than the one a year ago. What really gives the Trojans the edge, though, is their defensive front seven. It's loaded with veteran players and the linebacker unit is a notable advantage. Variables are tough to predict, but a defense like that usually travels well. Until Texas actually notches that big win, it's understandable to be incredulous. Pick: USC +2.5

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CBS Sports Writer

Ben Kercheval joined CBS Sports in 2016 and has been covering college football since 2010. Before CBS, Ben worked at Bleacher Report, UPROXX Sports and NBC Sports. As a long-suffering North Texas graduate,... Full Bio

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