All eyes will be on USC’s defense in the fall
ESPN released a story where their panel of college football reporters discussed which coaches, players and teams have the most to prove during the upcoming season.
For writer Chris Low, the team with the most to prove is USC. Low wrote:
“The 2023 season will be USC’s last in the Pac-12 before the Trojans join the Big Ten. Hard as it is to believe, USC hasn’t won a Pac-12 championship since 2017, and that’s the only one the Men of Troy have won going back to the 2008 season. There’s no way a school with USC’s resources, tradition and surrounding talent pool should experience that kind of championship drought, especially in its own league. And when it comes to the national picture, the Trojans have never been to the College Football Playoff and last played in the BCS national championship game in 2005. With Heisman Trophy quarterback Caleb Williams returning and Lincoln Riley entering his second season as coach, USC is out of excuses. The Trojans lost twice a year ago to Utah, the second time in the Pac-12 championship game. It’s time to get past that hurdle in 2023.”
Low hits the nail on the head with his “USC is out of excuses” line. The transfer portal affords programs the luxury of turning around rosters in months rather than years — and the Trojans have done just that. The 2023 USC roster is ready to win now.
After a putrid end to last season, all eyes will be on USC’s defense in the fall. Riley elected to retain every member of his defensive staff after USC allowed 29.21 points per game, which ranked 94th in the country. That unit MUST get better next season. If the defense ends the year with a whimper again, Riley will be viewed as the coach who wasted the final year of a generational quarterback. That’s the harsh reality.
On offense, USC should be one of the best teams in the country, maybe the best. Is it possible the Trojans can make their first-ever College Football Playoff simply by outscoring opponents? Yes. Is that likely though? No.
How the Trojans play on defense will define their 2023 season. No more excuses.