Is new USC Football Defensive Coordinator Alex Grinch the No. 2 DC in the Pac-12?

Alex Grinch, USC Football

Many USC football fans, and college football fans in general, are trying to decipher just how good new USC Defensive Coordinator Alex Grinch is. On one hand, we know that he's likely an upgrade over Todd Orlando. But at the same time, isn't everyone? What's concerning is the most recent Grinch defense that he just put out. It was more than suspect, if we're being honest.

What's interesting is that I recently saw an article from a West Coast college football publication called, that ranked Grinch as the second-best DC in the Pac-12. The article pointed to both sides of the argument, bringing up interesting points on each side of the discussion.

Grinch has had a true roller-coaster ride of a career, and the article alluded to it. It mentioned how Oklahoma had the 101st-ranked defense in 2018, the season before he was hired there. In 2019, Grinch had the defense take a massive leap--ranking 64th, and then took another huge jump to No. 21 the next year. The issue is that they dropped back down to No. 60 in 2021. Credit to the author(s) for pointing out just how complex Grinch's resume is.

Alex Grinch is eerily similar to failed USC Football Defensive Coordinator Orlando.

Here's where I'm coming from when I say that new USC Football Defensive Coordinator Alex Grinch feels a bit similar to Orlando: He's had a similar trajectory in recent years. Wasn't it Orlando, too, who started strong at a top Big 12 program in 2017 and 2018, but regressed back to the mean in his last year with the program? Interestingly, he had a similar three-year trajectory as Grinch at Oklahoma.

Isn't this also similar to Clancy Pendergast, too? He started strong in 2016, and led a good 'enough' defense in 2017. But in 2018, when injuries REALLY started to kick in, he regressed. 2019 didn't go a ton better for him, either, in another injury-ravaged season.

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Now, it's important to remember that Grinch IS a Rose Bowl winning co-Defensive Coordinator at Ohio State in 2018, who played a brand of defense similar to what SC played back when they were considered Defense U. It's not out of the realm of possibility that Grinch IS in the top two of the conference, as there admittedly isn't the most intimidating competition in the conference when it comes to Defensive Coordinators. There were downsides to the Grinch hiring, however, that even the most optimistic USC fans can spot out.