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Arkansas State vs. USC: Preview, TV, Start Time, Betting Line, Sundry and Guest Q&A

The first (and last) time Arkansas State challenged the PAC-12 was in 2012, when Gus Malzahn's Red Wolves took on Chip Kelly's Oregon Ducks. That game left Malzahn furiously chewing gum on the sidelines as future Heisman winner Marcus Mariota won his first college football game. Now A-State faces a second PAC-12 powerhouse, USC, led by another Heisman candidate, Cody Kessler.

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

There are more than 1,764 miles between Jonesboro, Arkansas and Los Angeles, California. The soul-crushing distance alone is enough to sap the will of most mortals. Add that to a 10 PM (CST) starting time and the fact that Dan Patrick finds it amusing that USC is even playing this game, and darn it, Arkansas State hardly has a chance, right?

Wrong! Never count out the Legend of Blake Anderson, the Power of Fredi Knighten, and the raw cosmic energy of Sun Belt Heat!

Start Time: 10 P.M. CST, Saturday, Sept. 5

Location: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, California

TV: PAC-12 Network

Streaming: Probably

Radio: ESPN Radio, KFIN 107.9 FM (Red Wolves), ESPN LA 710 AM (USC)

Records: Throw the records out the window! (Because there are no records)

Key Battle to Watch: Fredi "Jedi" Knighten vs. Cody "Needs a Nickname" Kessler

A-State's Path to Victory: Unleashing the Sack Monsters

FPI Chances for A-State Victory: 5.3%

Sun Belt Heat: Sizzling

What Steven Seagal Has to Say: "Yeah? Well come and cut my heart out, okay? Come and cut my heart out!"

Betting Line: Red Wolves are 27-pt dogs. Arrrooo!

Though I am an expert at a great many things (17th century tax stamps, bare knuckle boxing, falconry, the Civil War), my knowledge of USC football is limited. So we posed Four and a Half Penetrating Questions to Julian Lopez of Conquest Chronicles.

1. On the Dan Patrick Show, Sarkisian seemed to shrug off Arkansas State and claimed that the game would give him the opportunity to "rotate a lot of freshmen." Is USC overlooking the Red Wolves?

Lopez: USC is definitely not overlooking the Red Wolves. Especially with what happened a week and a half ago, the Trojans need to come out and get off to a fast start if they want to make it to the CFB Playoff, and that starts with the home opener. Fans are overlooking the Red Wolves but this is a great test for the Trojans defensively as ASU’s offensive is explosive. Sarkisian’s comments regarding playing a lot of freshmen against the Red Wolves I think should be interpreted that there are so many talented freshmen that will play from day one and Sarkisian will get to play a lot of them, especially if the Trojans blow the game open early.


2. Who (if any) on the Red Wolves roster is USC planning for specifically?

Lopez: Fredi Knighten and Michael Gordon. USC lost Hayes Pullard and Leonard Williams and ASU’s offense will create some offense for some of the inexperienced players that be playing in place of Pullard and Williams. I am interested to see how USC’s defensive line does against the o-line of the Red Wolves.

3. Is it more difficult for a defense to prepare for a multi-threat QB like Fredi Knighten when you’re practicing against a classic thrower like Cody Kessler?

Lopez: It is more difficult for a defense to prepare for a multi-threat QB like Knighten when your team’s quarterback is a pocket passer but for USC this year, the difficulty is not as hard as they can use Sam Darnold in the scout offense. Darnold is a true freshman who ran for over 750 yards during his senior season last year. I would say that Knighten is probably faster than Darnold especially since Darnold has four inches and 25 pounds on Knighten but it will be interesting to see how the Trojans defense does early against Knighten.

4. USC is a heavy favorite. If the Trojans are the Death Star, where should Red Wolves Head Coach Blake Anderson target his proton torpedoes?

Lopez: So you are saying that the Trojans are evil and everyone wants them to lose? Man, I feel sad. Anderson shouldn’t necessarily target torpedoes but should look back at Star Wars Ep. VI when the Ewoks defeated the dark side. Not saying that the Red Wolves are little bears, but you get the point.

4.5.  Who’d win a Coal Miner’s Cage Match between The Duggars and The Kardashians?

Lopez: America. Final Answer.

Conquest Chronicles catalogs all the storied comings-and-goings of USC athletics.