AUSTIN, Texas — Texas will face off against the No. 22 USC Trojans on Saturday Sept. 15 at 7 p.m.
The Longhorns charge into the matchup off of a bounce back 28-21 home win versus Tulsa and the Trojans were knocked off of their high horse in a 17-3 loss against No. 9 Stanford.
The Texas-USC pairing is one with a memorable history. Who could ever forget arguably one of -- if not the greatest -- college football games ever played: the 2005 Rose Bowl featuring Vince Young and the Longhorns versus the Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart led Trojans.
Or how about a more recent thriller: when Texas lost 24-27 in double overtime at the LA Memorial Coliseum in 2017.
If history is any suggestion, Saturday's game could be another exciting game. Texas has a 55.9 percent chance of winning Saturday's game, according to ESPN's Football Power Index. The Longhorns are also a 3.5 point favorite in the spread.
Some members of the KVUE staff made their picks for the Texas-USC game. This is what they predicted:
Mike Barnes, KVUE Sports Director:
Texas 23, USC 17
Most games come down to quarterback play these days, and while Sam Ehlinger has his ups and downs, the Trojans look to be lacking this year and that should be the difference.
Shawn Clynch, KVUE Sports Reporter:
Texas 23, USC 14
No Sam Darnold at quarterback or Ronald Jones at running back for USC. Both are currently rookies in the NFL. Last year, the Texas defense emerged in the national spotlight in LA, essentially limiting those two in a 27-24 double overtime loss to the men of Troy.
This will be the beginning of a challenging four game stretch for the Longhorns which includes the Big 12 opener vs TCU in Austin next week followed by a road trip to Kansas State the to Dallas for the grudge match against OU.
A win against USC will flip the mindset of the Horns who are searching for an identity on both sides of the ball.
UT’s offensive success will be determined by the tackles on the offensive line, Calvin Anderson and Sam Cosmi. They will have the task of protecting Sam Ehlinger from Porter Gustin and Christian Rector who have combined for 18 combined sacks, hits, and pressures on quarterbacks against UNLV and Stanford.
The key will rely on UT’s ability to rush the ball and find targets in the passing game line receiver Colin Johnson who made 7 receptions for 191 yards against USC last season.
I expect the Texas defense to get after and fluster the 18-year-old true freshman quarterback, J.T. Daniels early and often with an exotic and aggressive game plan by Defensive Coordinator, Todd Orlando.
The X factor in my opinion will be the DKR factor. An energetic and raucous stadium crowd. I expect the Longhorns to feed off of that energy and upset USC, 23-14.
Paul Livengood, KVUE Digital Sports Producer/Digital Desk Editor:
Texas 31, USC 27
In a game that comes down to the wire, Texas will squeak out its second straight win at home to begin healing the wounds of the upsetting season opener loss to Maryland. USC might be more battle tested, having played played against a tougher opponent in No. 9 Stanford. However, USC struggles to defend something UT showed an exceptional job at doing last week versus Tulsa: running the football effectively. USC allowed 308 rushing yards in week one to UNLV and was gashed by Stanford's Heisman trophy candidate, Bryce Love, for 136 yards by himself. The Cardinal finished with 159 yards on the ground as a team. In Texas' week two win versus Tulsa, the Longhorns ran the ball 47 times for 241 yards.
Combine this with a true freshman quarterback (USC's JT Daniels) coming into a hostile environment like Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, and it seems to cook up a Texas 'W' to me. I expect the Longhorns to get the ground game established early and will ride the legs of their young backs. But I don't think USC will just lie down. They're talented enough of a program in my opinion to keep things interesting.
Bryan Mays, KVUE Daybreak Anchor:
Texas 27. USC 17
Texas is going to have the kind of athletes at positions that make huge differences: safety, wide receiver, running back, etc. Texas surprised everyone last year when the team went and almost beat USC in double overtime at the Coliseum, but I think it won't be that much of a surprise when Texas wins this game. Texas is better than they were a year ago, and USC has regressed since the last meeting.
Hank Cavagnaro, KVUE News Reporter:
Texas 31, USC 28
UT has had their troubles over the first two weeks of the season with the Maryland road loss (let’s chalk that up to an emotional win for the Terrapins) and almost blowing the game against Tulsa, but I think there have been flashes. USC has had a similar, if not worse, look out of their first two. I think the fact USC is going on the road for the second straight week after being embarrassed by Stanford will make this game close but I just don’t see USC having the offensive fire power to win this one. UT gets the emotional game at home 31-28.
Jay Wallis, KVUE News Reporter:
Texas 20, USC 24
It's unlikely this game will be as thrilling as last year's double-overtime showdown, but it's a game that has a chance to go down to the wire again. Even with a hurt thumb, you have to expect JT Daniels to attack UT's shaky secondary. However, if UT's front seven can blitz and pressure USC's freshman QB into making some errant throws, that could keep the score within reach. Sam Ehlinger can obviously change the entire outcome of this game. If he builds off his success against Tulsa (and avoids forcing throws), his offense can certainly keep up with USC. The Longhorns also have to avoid long stretches of three-and-outs and keep their inexperienced punter (Ryan Bujcevski) from needing to play a big role. In the end, though, this team has to prove they can play a complete game against a big-time school until I can predict them to do so. Even though both these teams are still trying to figure out what they are through two weeks of play, I have to put my trust in a USC program that has shown more to me this year and in recent seasons.
Tim Ryan, KVUE News Director:
Texas 20, USC 31
We also asked you: Austinites, the fans and general public. This is what you decided:
Mays and Clynch also made picks for numerous other college football matchups on their Facebook Live show, "Football Friday," which you can watch here: