USC Football proves they're miles ahead of Notre Dame in re-build

Lincoln Riley, USC Football, USC Trojans
Lincoln Riley, USC Football, USC Trojans / Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Both USC Football and Notre Dame embarked on new head coaching eras this year. SC fired Clay Helton two games into the season in 2021, and hired Lincoln Riley after the year. Brian Kelly left Notre Dame for LSU after the regular season ended, and ND hired Marcus Freeman. Riley was taking over a 4-8 team who just had their worst year in program history. Freeman was taking over an 11-2 team.

If one of them went 8-4 and the other went 11-1, Notre Dame would be the ones to have gone 11-1, right? Wrong. Very wrong. ND regressed down to 8-4, and USC progressed all the way up to SEVEN more wins to get to 11. The two programs had wildly different starts to their new eras.

And ND had no excuse for this. This is in Riley's first year, where he inherited a recruiting class that was outside the top 100 in the overall 247Sports recruiting rankings. He brought it all the way to the top six. ND didn't have that type of class, despite not firing their coach after Week 2 and hiring a new one just before signing day like USC did.

The best part was that the game to get USC to the 11 wins, and to get the Fighting Irish to four losses was the game where they played each other. SC won 38-27, in a game where Caleb Williams scored four touchdowns (three passing) and didn't turn it over once. He completed 18 of 22 passes for 232 passing yards, and tacked on 35 rushing yards. He even had a Heisman pose.

USC Football ran all over Notre Dame.

USC Football RB Austin Jones ran for 154 rushing yards on 25 carries. He went ballistic on this Notre Dame defense that SC made look silly all game long. The second running back for this game, Raleek Brown, had a rushing touchdown.

The best part, however, was that the national media claimed that it would be Notre Dame's running attack that would be doing this to the Trojans, and SC's running game that would struggle. Instead, not only did USC torch ND's defense in the ground game, but the Irish couldn't run on USC at all. They put 26 carries together for only 90 yards.

Eric Gentry was a huge addition to have back, as he collected nine tackles in a game where it was unclear if he was even 100% healthy yet. Last week, College Football Playoff Selection Committee Chair Boo Corrigan said that the committee was "looking for a
stronger showing by the defense," and that's why SC with one loss was ranked below two-loss LSU.

Well, the committee most certainly got to see that this week. And after LSU just lost to an awful 5-7 Texas A&M team by a score of 38-23, SC proved that they are indeed the better team. They will most certainly move up into the top five this upcoming ranking (they were sixth this week), and likely into the top four.

To make sure they officially make the College Football Playoff, they'll need to beat a team they'll be favored over next week in the College Football Playoff. As for ND, they're not even close to having any of these conversations this year.

Predictions for rest of USC Football season. dark. Next

They've had no shot at the CFP since they hilariously lost to MARSHALL. They also lost to STANFORD this year. The two programs have begun their new coaching eras in completely different fashions.