Athlon Sports' put out preseason bowl projections for the 2022-2023 college football season, and USC football's projection is a match made in heaven for Trojan Athletic Director Mike Bohn. The projection is not only that SC will play in the Cotton Bowl, but that SC will be playing against the Cincinnati Bearcats.
This would of course be a dream come true for Bohn because Bohn gained his strong reputation off of his head coach hiring at Cincinnati and USC. He hired UC Head Coach Luke Fickell when he was at Cincinnati, and he hired Lincoln Riley at USC this past offseason.
He would want nothing more than to see the two head coaches he is known for hiring go at it against each other, head-to-head, in one of the six biggest bowl games in college football. Both Riley and Fickell are top-tier coaches, so it's understandable for Athlon to place them here.
New USC Football HC Lincoln Riley only earned a lesser bowl for his program than the Cotton Bowl just once in his career.
New USC Football HC Lincoln Riley has earned New Year's Six Bowls or College Football Playoff appearances every year he's been a head coach in his career except this past year where he earned an Alamo Bowl invite. Still, his Oklahoma team finished in the top 10 that year.
He's been a safe bet to be in one of the top six bowls during his career, and as for Fickell--he's been in a New Year's Six Bowl in each of the past two seasons. He was in the Cotton Bowl this past year. Riley went to the Cotton Bowl the year before that, and absolutely demolished the Florida Gators--55 to 20.
Riley will have to build USC up very fast in Year 1 to get to the Cotton Bowl, as SC hasn't been since the 2017-2018 season.
He most certainly can, however, as he dominated the transfer portal as soon as he got here--securing two five-star transfers (Caleb Williams and Jordan Addison) and five four-star transfers (Eric Gentry, Mario Williams, Latrell McCutchin, Travis Dye, and Brenden Rice).
Riley's finished in the top ten in all five years of head coaching, and Fickell has in each of his last two years. These two are two of the very best coaches in America, and the two of them playing each other in the Cotton Bowl would remind USC fans of how happy they should be to have a very strong AD in Bohn running the show.