USC’s national title hopes hang in the balance as the Trojans face early-season challenges, despite having arguably the best quarterback in college football. Caleb Williams, the reigning Heisman quarterback, has been giving it his all on the field, but the Achilles’ heel of USC appears to be their defense. This issue has already cost the Trojans their position at the top of their conference, and their chances on the national stage are now in jeopardy.
In both the Pac-12 rankings and the official AP polls, the Oregon Ducks and Washington hold higher positions than the Men of Troy. While all three teams find themselves within the top 10 nationally, USC’s inability to contain their last two opponents raises concerns about their prospects in the upcoming conference championship.
The Trojans’ defense is causing sleepless nights for USC fans, especially given the surprise it brings after last year’s defensive struggles against Utah. The 2022 Pac-12 title attempt was marred by defensive lapses, and this season doesn’t seem to be any different. Just one week after a narrow escape against unranked Arizona State, USC’s defense crumbled against a Colorado offense, a team that Oregon handled with ease in Week 4.
3. USC TROJANS (5-0, 3-0)
Offseason promises of an improved defense have so far gone unfulfilled at USC, where head coach Lincoln Riley offered a vote of confidence to defensive coordinator Alex Grinch despite a pitiful performance at Colorado. The Buffaloes outgained the Trojans, 564-498, one week after managing just 199 yards at Oregon. That is a troublesome sign for a unit that also allowed 28 points to Arizona State the week prior. USC has the nation’s best scoring offense, but until it takes a step forward on the other side of the ball, it might be difficult to trust it against the Pac-12’s other top contenders.
The looming question is whether these defensive issues can be rectified in time for the critical games in January. While Caleb Williams aims for a Heisman repeat, the spotlight now shifts to the Trojans’ defense. Their inability to shore up this crucial aspect of the game could overshadow Williams’ individual achievements and their quest for a national championship alongside their USC teammates.
As the college football season progresses, USC must address these defensive concerns if they hope to keep their national title dreams alive. Caleb Williams’ exceptional skills may shine, but it takes a strong team effort to clinch the ultimate prize. The Trojans’ journey ahead is fraught with challenges, but their fate remains uncertain as they strive to overcome their defensive shortcomings.
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