The team was already garnering lots of national attention due to their coaching hires as well as an absolutely LOADED transfer class even before Williams headed here. That transfer class obviously moved up from No. 3 to No. 1 in the national rankings (247Sports). Williams was the No. 1 rated transfer in the nation, and for good reason.
The incoming sophomore didn't even start until the second-half of the season last year under our new head coach Lincoln Riley at OU, and still scored 27 total touchdowns and threw just four picks. Averaging 9.1 yards per pass attempt and 5.6 per carry, he's already established that he's an elite guy in this offense. It's another component to our team that brings us into Pac-12 title contention for next year.
The Pac-12 Championship is an attainable goal for USC football next year.
I do not actually see USC football winning the Pac-12 chip next year, but it's CERTAINLY within the realm of possibility. Look at our competition.
Last year was supposed to be UCLA's year, and they flashed an uninspiring ceiling. Arizona State is in DEEP trouble and mortgaged their future for a very disappointing 2021. Arizona isn't ready to compete for the South yet, and I don't even know what's going on with Colorado.
The only team coming in who SC should be legitimately afraid of in the South is Utah, who will indeed have a good team again. They're returning a lot, and also return a lot of momentum for having their best season since 2008. That being said, SC does have both the edge when it comes to Head Coach (as Riley is a top five coach in the country), and they also have a MAJOR talent advantage.
Kyle Whittingham is a master of doing more with less, so I absolutely expect him to win the South next year. Could the talent take over now that SC has an elite guy running the program, though? It's most certainly possible.
And the thing is, if SC wins the South, it would likely be easy money in the Pac-12 Championship. Who's going to be better than SC in the North?
Oregon? They just went through a major collapse at the end of last season, downgraded their coaching staff, and are losing talent left and right to the portal. The one thing they always were going to do well with was recruiting, and now they have the 43rd class in the country entering 2022 (247Sports).
I wouldn't completely mind that if they weren't also 34th in transfer portal rankings, and 28th in the overall rankings. SC has been very disappointing in recruiting this offseason, but they also have the No. 9 overall class and No. 1 transfer portal class. SC will be more talented, and they have a significantly better coach.
Washington doesn't have the talent to compete with a Riley-coached USC team, either. I do like their new coaching hire overall, but they're not ready to defeat SC (at least if SC becomes good enough to win the South in Year 1 under Riley). Oregon State is certainly improving as a program, and could beat USC next year in Corvallis, but in a big, neutral-site game I'm taking the talent upgrade and established elite coach over the Beavs.
There's a scrappy Washington State team in Pullman, but SC beat them last year in arguably their worst season in Trojan football history. They'll fight, and potentially pull of some upsets next year, but I don't trust them in a postseason game against Riley IF they win the North.
As for Stanford, they have consistently proven that they can beat USC in any given year, as it's a very important game for them. They won't have the talent to compete for their division, though. Cal doesn't have the players to win the South either, and I'm not sure what they see in Justin Wilcox who is under .500 as a head coach.
Therefore, if SC can upset Utah and find themselves in the Pac-12 title game, they absolutely have what it takes to win it. Many are unsure of what the expectations of SC should be. What I CAN tell you, however, is that while USC shouldn't be expected to win the conference over a fantastic Utah team; they certainly have the chance.