Top CFB insider gives USC dream ranking in "Teams on the way back to prominence" list

Lincoln Riley, USC Football, USC Trojans
Lincoln Riley, USC Football, USC Trojans / Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Well-respected college football insider Mike Farrell recently came out with his 'Top 5 teams on the way back to prominence list,' and USC football came in at number one. They were listed ahead of Miami (No. 2), Texas (No. 3), Arkansas (No. 4), and Tennessee (No. 5).

It makes sense. What USC has been missing these last few years is an elite head coach. They have been one of the worst programs in the country when it comes to pound-for-pound talent development, and haven't won the Pac-12 since 2017. Now, they have that elite coach.

Lincoln Riley is typically considered to be a top four-to-five head coach in America and runs what is considered the best offensive system in America. He's even been in the running for NFL head coaching jobs before despite being as young as in his mid-30s for some of that interest.

The last time USC had an elite head coach, they won four Rose Bowls and two Orange Bowls in Pete Carroll's nine years.

It's amazing to think about what Riley can now do with this USC football program. Keep in mind that one of those Orange Bowls and one of those Rose Bowls was a National Championship too. They not only won two Natties but also went to another one.

SC finished fourth or better in the country for seven straight years at one point under Carroll. The crazy thing is; that hire was considered a poor one. He was coming off of a disastrous tenure with the New England Patriots as their head coach, and he was far from SC's first option. Riley, of course, had to be SC's first option.

Because there's a difference here. Riley, too, is coming off of a disastrous season--but disastrous for him and him only. It was the worst year of his career...where the team STILL went 10-2 and finished inside the top 10. Riley has never finished outside the top ten in his entire head coaching career.

His run at Oklahoma doesn't have the national championships that Carroll's run with the Trojans did, but he won four Big 12 titles in his first four years there (he coached there five years).

He went to the College Football Playoff in each of his first three seasons in Norman. OU had made the College Football Playoff a total of one time out of three before Riley got there. One of those three years, they didn't even finish the year ranked. They went 8-5.

Riley made the OU program even better. Now imagine what he can do while he's right in the thick of arguably the top hot bed of high school talent in the country. Not to mention, he's with the better program that's won 11 National Championships (Oklahoma hasn't even hit double-digits) now.

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He's got USC back on the road to both prominence AND dominance. Despite coming here after the 2021 season, he already brought SC's overall recruiting class (247Sports) from outside the top 100 and into the top six. The momentum's already there. Farrell's just stating the facts.