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Handicappers leaving USC off the board

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The University of Hawai’i football team knows it will be bucking the odds against Southern California in their Sept. 2 season opener.

But exactly how much of an underdog the Warriors will be could be a game-week decision.

"Their (USC’s) games are off-the-board," said Jay Kornegay, director of the Las Vegas Hilton Sports Book.

The first comprehensive Las Vegas odds for the college football season came out last week and none of USC’s 13 games are listed because Las Vegas handicappers say the turmoil from NCAA penalties and questions about who will be around to play for the Trojans have kept them from posting odds.

"There are a lot of issues about who will be on the team and who they will have (to) play," Kornegay said.

USC was hit with a two-year bowl ban and scholarship limits last month by the NCAA and at least five players have either left or are said to be considering departing the Trojans.

USC this week released its most celebrated incoming recruit, offensive lineman Seantrel Henderson, from his letter of intent and he has said he will attend Miami. Defensive end Malik Jackson has transferred to Tennessee.

In addition, junior fullback Junior Shoemate is transferring to Connecticut and redshirt freshman defensive back Byron Moore is going to a junior college.

Under NCAA rules some players whose eligibility would expire within the sanction years may transfer without being required to sit out a season.

USC also lost an assistant coach when running backs coach Todd McNair’s contract was allowed to expire.

The Associated Press said McNair was given "special penalties" for what the NCAA claimed was his role in the scandal surrounding Heisman Trophy-winning tailback Reggie Bush.

Kornegay said the Hilton’s line is due out later this month but wasn’t sure if there would be odds on the UH-USC game by then. He estimated USC might be a favorite by points in the "high 20s range."

Tony Sinisi of Las Vegas Sports Consultants said a preliminary ballpark figure might be as low as 24 points.

UH was listed as a five-point favorite for the Warriors’ Dec. 4 regular-season finale against Nevada-Las Vegas on the Golden Nugget betting line.

 

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