There's more excitement surrounding USC football than there's been since Pete Carroll's run of seven straight top four finishes (with two National Championships).
Sure, there was a lot of excitement around USC in the Sam Darnold era (there was a lot of winning too), but even that doesn't top the excitement that the program is feeling right now. Heck, SC is the only program who's getting their spring game broadcasted on ESPN this year.
SC has been talked about all offseason long, non-stop. They're the only program in history who has ever been nationally relevant even after a four-win season. They'll certainly win more than four games in 2022.
USC football is going to be far better in 2022 that what they were in 2021.
Starting with USC Football's home opener, here's a breakdown of how their season will go this upcoming season:
USC Football vs. Rice//September 3rd--WIN
USC football will have no issue against Rice, who will just be happy to be there and experience the Coliseum. SC will have a chance to figure out just how explosive their offense can be. Riley did put up over 50 points four times last year with OU, and week 1 will be SC's best opportunity to figure out just how many points they can put up.
USC Football at Stanford//September 10th--WIN
USC football tends to have trouble with Stanford at the worst possible times, and Stanford tends to have trouble with USC at the worst possible times. It is truly the most confusing matchup series in USC history. But let's be honest--it's 2022. David Shaw cannot beat Riley in 2022.
USC Football vs Fresno State//September 17th--WIN
This will be another game for USC football to test just how many points they can score on offense. This Fresno State team is not going to be as good as they were last year now that Kalen DeBoer is off to Washington. SC will not face any trouble with a team they have a great history against.
USC Football at Oregon State//September 24th--WIN
Oregon State could be sneaky good next year, but now that USC football actually has clear direction, expect them to be much more organized against OSU than they were last year. The Beavers will be one of the better teams SC plays this year, but they won't be good enough to beat the Trojans.
USC Football vs Arizona State//October 1st--WIN
USC Football should have no trouble dealing with what is a dumpster fire at Arizona State right now. ASU for some reason refused to fire their awful head coach despite finding out that he's been cheating his tail off yet still putting poor results on the field. Riley should have no problem outcoaching Herm Edwards.
USC Football vs Washington State//October 8th--WIN
USC Football will have an exponentially more talented roster than Washington State and will be more solidified in the coaching staff. Wazzu is losing some key playmakers this offseason on offense, including solid QB Jayden de Laura, standout RB Max Borghi, and a quality WR in Calvin Jackson.
USC Football at Utah//October 15th--LOSS
USC Football will likely struggle with the Pac-12 South favorites in the Utah Utes. The Utes return a powerful running game and promising defense to go along with one of the best quarterbacks in the conference in Cam Rising.
USC Football at Arizona//October 29th--WIN
Arizona has been making improvements within the structure of their football program, but that won't correlate to very many wins right now. They're not going to outscore a loaded roster with Riley calling the shots.
USC Football vs California//November 6th--WIN
Former USC Football Defensive Coordinator Justin Wilcox is overrated, and has a losing record as a head coach. He has a lot of passion for the Cal program, but that passion hasn't resulted in many wins. He certainly won't be able to get very many against SC now that Riley runs the show.
USC Football vs Colorado//November 11th--WIN
Colorado is another Pac-12 South dumpster fire that has absolutely no clear direction. Two of their best players just transferred to USC in Mekhi Blackmon and Brenden Rice. The roster at SC is so much better, and SC's coaching staff blows Colorado out the water.
USC Football at UCLA//November 19th--LOSS
UCLA may be a bit of a tougher matchup than expected for SC, as they are returning some continuity on offense with their starting QB and their head coach. Chip Kelly is a bad coach these days, and while Dorian Thompson-Robinson is a decent QB, he's not enough to prevent them from having a poor season.
USC likely will fall to an inferior team at some point in the season, however, and due to the game being in the Rose Bowl and the way their offense matches up against SC's defensive personnel (and put that on full display last year), I have the game that SC gets caught sleeping being against the Bruins. SC's defensive personnel is better than what it was last year, but the front seven still very well may be pedestrian and the Bruins' offensive concepts in the running game have thrived against suspect front sevens in the past.
USC Football vs Notre Dame//November 26th--LOSS
USC football will put up a great fight against the Irish, but they're not good enough in the front seven to be able to out-physical a team that thrives off of physicality. SC will of course outcoach Notre Dame, but their roster is a bit more well-rounded right now on defense.
This makes for a 9-3 season, and the team will probably be ranked in the high-teens/very early 20's range when the season ends. They likely won't win the division, but this is a significant improvement over where they were last year, and more than sufficient enough progress in the first year under Riley.