This game will be played at 3:30 in the afternoon (Eastern Time) at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on Saturday September 8th. It's considered a neutral site game in the Meadowlands, but obviously there will be more Syracuse Orange fans than University of Southern California Trojan fans.
This will be the second game for both teams with each school having played a season-opener at their respective home stadiums. Generally teams improve the most during the season between the first and second game. Syracuse will have tuned up for this game against the Northwestern Wildcats while USC will have opened up with the Hawaii Warriors. Both Syracuse and USC will be favored in those first games.
The Orange played at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum last season and was handled relatively easily by the Trojans 38-17 (source - O.C. Register). USC led 38-10 early in the fourth quarter when they called off the dogs. Quarterback Matt Barkley threw five touchdown passes and the Trojan offense put up over 500 yards on the Syracuse defense.
The Orange are coming off a somewhat disappointing 5-7 season after starting the year 5-2. USC rebounded after a couple of subpar seasons (at least compared to the Trojans established level of play) with a 10-2 year that saw them win the South Division of the Pac-12 Conference and defeat the #4 Oregon Ducks in Eugene.
Quarterbacks will lead
But that was last year and every season is different. Both teams return experienced senior quarterbacks. Quarterback Ryan Nassib will be relied on heavily in 2012 because the Syracuse offense returns only four other starters with holes to fill on the offensive line (source - Scout.com). Matt Barkley will be the leading Heisman Trophy candidate heading into this coming year and looks to have many weapons at his disposal.
Syracuse's defensive line also has holes to fill and will have to rely on their linebackers who should be up to the task. USC's defense appears talented if a bit inexperienced but their defensive backfield now looks like the strongest unit which will be important against the Orange because Nassib has some quality receivers to throw to.
Trojans - Seawolves
The Trojans will be favored to win every game this year and when all is said and done, they should win this gridiron battle going away. But expect the game to be tight for the first half as USC gets used to being on the road (5,000 mile round-trip).
The teams will not see a similar foe in game three. Syracuse goes home to upstate New York and hosts Stony Brook Seawolves while the Trojans stay on the road with a Pac-12 Conference showdown (& conference opener) against the Stanford Cardinal.
The Orange will hope to make it close and use this tough game to build on. USC meanwhile will be using the away game as a tune-up for a stretch of three road conference games in four contests. The Syracuse Orange will be angling to get back to where they were in 2010 with a winning season and bowl victory. The USC Trojans will be aiming much higher as championships are on their minds in 2012.
Sources - ESPN, USC, Syracuse
Daryle lived in Los Angeles Ca. most of his life and has been a longtime fan of USC, having closely followed the Trojans since he was just a youngster. Fight On!