2022 USC Trojans Preview

by Matt Fargo

USC Trojans

2021-22 Season Record 4-8 (3-6 Pac 12 South) - 4-8-0 ATS - 7-5-0 O/U

Returning Starters

Offense - 8
Defense - 3

Overview

Losing seasons have been few and far between for USC as there have been only two since 2001 but those two have come in the last four years and this is the worst run for the Trojans since the early 60s when they had two straight losing campaigns. Long gone are the days of John McKay, John Robinson and Pete Carroll and while there have been a couple good seasons over the last 12 years, USC has not been able to get back to its consistent dominance. They scored the biggest coaching hire of the offseason as Lincoln Riley comes over from Oklahoma where he was 55-10 in his five seasons there and he has already made an impact. The recruiting class was not great but it should not matter as the Trojans brought in the top transfer class in the nation filled with playmakers that will make a difference right away. Expectations are sky high as the Trojans come in ranked No. 14 which actually seems low.

Offense

The No. 1 ranked offense in the Pac 12 last season is only going to be better. Overall, the Trojans were No. 27 in total offense and No. 66 in scoring offense and has the potential to be one of the best units in the country if the chemistry is there from its new toys. Riley certainly knows his offense and is coming into a great situation. He brought with him quarterback Caleb Williams who threw for 1,912 yards with 21 touchdowns and only six interceptions to go along with great running ability in not even close to a full season. He has one of the best receivers at his disposal as Jordan Addison transferred from Pittsburgh after winning the Biletnikoff Award. Two other big transfers will provide a ton of depth as well. Running back Travis Dye rushed for 1,271 yards and 16 touchdowns at Oregon last season. This will all work behind a line that should be vastly improved as well.

Defense

This is where things could get dicey but this is not a huge concern with an offense that will have the ability to outscore anyone. USC was bad last season on defense as it finished No. 90 overall and No. 102 in points allowed after giving up 31 or more points eight times. It can be looked at it from both ways as it is either good news or bad news that only three starters are back and it is probably somewhere in-between. The defensive line is going to be a lot better with Tuli Tuipulotu and Nick Figueroa coming back and both are future NFL players and should be all over the opposing backfield. Two transfers will help out the linebacker situation that is headed by Ralen Goforth, the second leading tackler from last season. The secondary will have the biggest makeover with new corners taking over but the Trojans are set at safety with Xavion Alford and Calen Bullock returning.

2022 Season Outlook

While the Trojans come into the season at No. 14 in the country, they will be in the top ten in no time with a very favorable early schedule that will get the chemistry in line and the confidence for a big second half. If this defense comes around and is just even a little above average, this could be one scary team and they are a National Championship sleeper team for a reason and they have already been bet up to the fifth lowest odds to win it all. USC should open the season 6-0 with the only two possible stumblers being a home game against Fresno St. and at Oregon St. Then comes the big one as they travel to Utah before three more likely wins and it closes the season at UCLA and at home against Notre Dame. The O/U win total is set at 9.5 which is very lofty but for a very good reason. There are nine games on paper that the Trojans win so it will take a victory in one of those three big games to go over.  

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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