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College football: USC opens season Sept. 5 against Arkansas State

College football: USC opens season Sept. 5 against Arkansas State
Running back Justin Davis and the Trojans will try to beat UCLA for the first time in four years. (Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

USC 2015 football game schedule. All times Pacific.

Sept. 5, Arkansas State at the Coliseum, 8 p.m.

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USC has never played a Football Championship Subdivision school, but the Trojans come close with an opener against the first of two Sun Belt Conference opponents. When USC won Associated Press national titles in 2003 and 2004, it played openers at Auburn and Virginia Tech.

Sept. 12, Idaho at the Coliseum, 5 p.m.

Another game that qualifies as a scrimmage for the Trojans. The Vandals have not won more than one game in each of the last three seasons. This mismatch will enrich their coffers but not help them improve that record.

Sept. 19, Stanford at the Coliseum, 5 p.m.

Fifth-year senior quarterback Kevin Hogan and the Cardinal will give the Trojans defense its first real test. The last time Stanford visited the Coliseum, Cody Kessler completed a huge fourth-down pass to set up a game-winning field goal.

Sept. 26, at Arizona State, time TBA

A 2013 trip to Sun Devil Stadium did not end well for the Trojans — or former coach Lane Kiffin. Presumably, USC will be better prepared this season for Sun Devils quarterback Mike Bercovici and any Hail Mary situations that might arise.

Oct. 8, Washington at the Coliseum, 6 p.m.

Coach Steve Sarkisian faces some of his old players — and one of the coaches USC interviewed before hiring Sarkisian — when Chris Petersen brings the Huskies to the Coliseum. Thank the Pac-12 for the kickoff during Thursday evening rush hour traffic.

Oct. 17, at Notre Dame, 4:30 p.m.

The Fighting Irish have to look better than they did last season at the Coliseum, right? Quarterback Malik Zaire replaces Everett Golson, who transferred to Florida State. In 2013, USC lost at South Bend, Ind., 14-10.

Oct. 24, Utah at the Coliseum, time TBA

Utes quarterback Travis Wilson engineered a victory last season at Salt Lake City, completing a short touchdown pass with eight seconds left. Running back Devontae Booker rushed for 1,512 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2014.

Oct. 31, at California, time TBA

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Cal quarterback Jared Goff and USC's Kessler could be playing in a Heisman duel of sorts if both teams are contending. That could be a stretch for a Cal team that plays four of five games on the road before the Trojans come to town.

Nov. 7, Arizona at the Coliseum, time TBA

The Trojans barely escaped Tucson, Ariz., with a victory last season. Wildcats Coach Rich Rodriguez and linebacker Scooby Wright would like to avenge that. The last time Arizona played at the Coliseum, Ed Orgeron coached the Trojans.

Nov. 13, at Colorado, 6 p.m.

Colorado might be improved under third-year Coach Mike MacIntrye but probably not enough to upset the Trojans in this Friday night game. USC has won its last two games at Boulder, Colo., by combined scores of 89-46.

Nov. 21, at Oregon, time TBA

USC, which missed most of the Marcus Mariota era at Oregon, plays the defending conference-champion Ducks for the first time since 2012. Autzen Stadium is tough on visitors regardless of who plays quarterback for Oregon, but USC won there in 2011.

Nov. 28, UCLA at the Coliseum, time TBA

USC has not defeated the Bruins since the Trojans' 50-0 victory at the Coliseum in 2011. Maybe now, with Brett Hundley in the NFL? It would be great for Los Angeles-area football if the Pac-12 South division title is on the line.

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