USC football ready to fight on


The past few years for the University of Southern California football program have been disappointing to say the least. Multiple coaching changes, a lack of identity, and failing to meet any sort of positiveexpectation. Yet, things look to be turning around. The program has started this season 4-0 and now has an established coach in Lincoln Riley as well as the many transfers that came with him from Oklahoma. Now the Trojans have one goal in mind: a trip to the college football playoff and a national title. Let’s take a look at their road to a possible championship, and what it’ll take from the team on the field to reach the mountain top. 

Let’s start with the foundation for USC getting into the college football playoff: winning the Pac-12. And, not just winning it, but winning it with 1 or preferably 0 losses. The Trojans did not schedule any big resume-booster games before conference play, so there is little room for error. This season, however, they still have multiple competitive teams lined up on their schedule such as #12 Utah, currently 4-0 UCLA, and a Notre Dame team whose record does not represent the talent they have. The Trojans have to win these games while also not getting upset in games they’ll be heavily favored to win. At the worst, USC can most likely only lose one of the aforementioned games if they want to secure a playoff spot, in addition to of course winning the conference. Now that the scenario is set, what do the Trojans need to do on the field to ensure this happens? 

USC’s offense on paper is as good as it gets. Star QB Caleb Williams has an elite ability to extend plays and fire darts to open receivers, such as star Jordan Addison, a transfer from Pitt who he has already found in the end zone multiple times through the first 4 weeks. While Williams and company did struggle this past weekend against Oregon State to chain multiple good drives together, I am not worried as they did get the job done when it mattered most. As long as they are healthy and can maintain a good running game featuring Oregon transfer Travis Dye, the USC offense can put up enough points against a playoff team to put them in a position to win.

As for the defense, there is some concern among fans. Through the first two weeks, the Trojan defense had its moments but also had its woes, which was a concern given the level of competition they were facing. While they may have redeemed themselves this past weekend after forcing 4 key interceptions, they still must be cautious. It is clear this defense is primarily ball hawks looking to turn the ball over, which has its benefits but can also lead to giving up big plays, which you simply cannot do if you face an Alabama or Georgia level team this winter. The defense must ensure they do not sacrifice big yardage plays for the occasional interception. Find the right balance, and we will see a lot of what we saw this past weekend from the Trojan defense. 

Lincoln Riley and USC looked poised to make a run at the college football playoff and if they can execute the plan laid out, they will be well on their way to restoring the school’s prestige among the ranks of college football.