Before the Big Ten bombshell reshaping the college football landscape, USC was already embarking on big changes. The Trojans brought in their famous new coach, Lincoln Riley, who they had poached from Oklahoma at great expense. He soon followed a veritable rose parade of star transfers, and the Trojan roster was devoured by studs.
“There’s not a single person here who hasn’t done something new,” Riley said in late August. “Every player here is in a new school, a new system, or both.”
A week into the season, how’s the remodel going? Rapid. There’s drywall, windows and electricity, but he’s going to face Pac-12 rival Stanford in Palo Alto on Saturday. It’s time to flip the switch and actually turn the lights on.
Last week’s promising soft launch showed how different USC is. Of the 66 points scored against poor Rice in the season opener, 42 were generated by players wearing the Cardinal and Gold jerseys for the first time. Star Transfer quarterback Caleb Williams completed his 86.3% of passes. This is the highest success rate by a Trojan with at least 20 of his attempts in 10 years. The top four rushers (including Williams) and his eight pass catchers are all newcomers to the program. The top two tacklers were transfers from Alabama and Arizona.
This is the ephemeral nature of modern college football, but it has been taken to another level by changes in coaching, Riley’s ability to tap talent, and the potential for program names, images, and similarities. USC didn’t pay Riley for a gradual rebuild. When asked about his first-year expectations at his Pac-12 Media Day earlier this summer, Riley responded: … This is a hit and miss place. Again, we didn’t come here to play second. ”
The most important building block of a quick rebuild is the quarterback, and Riley brought Williams from Norman to Los Angeles. He was followed by rising star wide receiver Mario Williams. 2021 Biletnikov winner Jordan Addison (Pittsburgh) and Jerry’s son Brenden Rice (Colorado). Add in his two dynamic, versatile runs from within the league of Austin Jones (Stanford) and Travis Dye (Oregon) his back, and Riley has the versatility he needs to practice his trademark clean play. Collected weapons quickly.
Building a quality defense is a bigger challenge. USC were weaker on this side of the ball last year, allowing him 31.8 points per game. Riley brought in Alex his Grinch from Oklahoma to run the unit and in the opening against Rice he scored 3 picks 6 he scored a touchdown at Laut. His one of those scores was from Alabama transfer linebacker Shane Lee.
Stanford University isn’t in the shape of David Shaw, but it presents a bigger challenge this week. He could also be one of the last chances for two ancient rivalries to meet, as USC and cross-town rival UCLA are set to move into the Big Ten in his 2024. Their first contest was held in 1905. USC played UCLA. This is the price of economic development and the loss of traditional matchmaking. For the foreseeable future, his two SoCal programs, which regularly traveled up the coast to the Bay Area or south to Tucson and Tempe, will be playing late-season games against strangers in the Midwest and Northeast. You’ll need to pack hand warmers and bench heaters for that.
That sweeping change might have even come as a shock to Riley, who would face a long business trip and blue lips in the third year, if there was actually one (I don’t know anymore in this business). Hmm). Riley was right in an early July school release that cited several coaches in the days after the uncomfortable shift was made public. Provide student-athletes with more exposure, new resources and challenge elite competition. USC Football is thrilled to be competing in the Big Ten. ”
But in January, a source familiar with USC’s hiring process said: sports illustrated When Riley’s former employer Oklahoma decided to make a similarly tumultuous move to the SEC last summer, along with Texas, Coach wasn’t a fan of the move. I don’t think it was popular,” the source said. So are the Big Ten attractive and/or popular?
Where will USC be when the Great Migration begins in 2024? In terms of better talent. Riley’s first five Class of ’23 commitments were offensive his skills his players that were on his radar in Oklahoma or from the recruiting hotspots in the backyards of the Sooners in Texas, but He then focused on defense and lineman. If Trojans have to work overtime to develop talent to compete in new conferences, they are at least heavily rewarded for their efforts. Big Ten’s new seven-year, $7 billion-plus media rights package is reason enough to downplay modern traditions and geographic sensibilities. The deal, which will bring a large amount of money from California to New Jersey, is considered not only attractive but necessary. In the South, the SEC is printing money almost as fast.
Backed by rival TV networks, these two rival conferences destabilized the remaining Power 5, moving to 16 teams each. At SEC Media Day in July, Commissioner Greg Sankey boldly declared his conference a “superleague” and said the Big Ten would rather add Texas and Oklahoma than he would add USC and UCLA. to the question of whether or not the So far, on paper, it’s correct. However, adding USC and UCLA and their big TV market would theoretically allow the Big Ten to compete on a more level playing field with his SEC, thus generating more money.
However, LA’s two teams would end up in a conference at a disadvantage, with vastly different on-field performances. Three SEC schools have won the last three College Football Playoff National Championships (LSU, Alabama and Georgia), with Auburn and Florida winning titles in the last 15 years. Since 2002, the only Big Ten title has come from Ohio State, and the Buckeyes are the only school to win a championship this century.
Since the playoff era began in 2014, the SEC is 14-5 with five titles and the Big Ten is 3-5 with one title. Ohio State was the only Big Ten member to win a playoff game, with Michigan State (’15) and University of Michigan (’21) being routed in the semifinals by his SEC opponents. The mighty Buckeyes look like the strongest challengers to continued SEC hegemony. But the road to the next national title with No. 1 Alabama and his No. 2 Georgia still goes through the South. The West Coast hasn’t had a glimpse of a national championship in a long time since USC won his second straight in 2004.
The Trojans narrowly missed out on a third title the following season, losing to Vince Young and Texas in the classic BCS Championship Game. Pete Carroll came close a few more times and out of town he beat the NCAA posse so he went to the NFL. Amid massive sanctions, the program suffered from coaching dysfunction and mediocre football his decade.
In a wave of USC, Pac-12 did the same. College football only two teams in the league have qualified for his playoffs: Oregon in the 2014 season and Washington in his 2016 season. USC is nowhere near a playoff bid.
Riley was hired to change that. Big His move to Ten is a disorienting conspiracy in the Trojan quest for a return to glory. But this much is certain: USC has all the resources available to compete and players have been pouring in via the portal. The trojan is trying to figure out how quickly a complete rebuild can occur.
Watch college football live on fuboTV: start your free trial now!
Other college football coverage: