How USC Trojans will be impacted by College Football Playoff expansion

USC Football, USC Trojans, Lincoln Riley
USC Football, USC Trojans, Lincoln Riley / Kevork Djansezian/GettyImages

The College Football Playoff is expanding to 12 teams, and it will be benefitting USC football, as well as really all college football programs. With the Playoff expanding, more teams are going to have the opportunity to play for a championship, but it's not even just that. It's that the New Year's Six Bowls will now have meaning again.

For this past handful of years, non-CFP New Year's Six Bowls don't have the same meaning. Many teams don't play with the same motivation during those contests, and many top players just opt out anyway. The games objectively don't mean much anymore as a result, and that's not what those great Bowl Games were meant for.

So, now with the CFP expanding to cover those games, they will have more meaning again. It's great for the Rose Bowl Game, which is obviously tied very tightly to USC, as USC has 25 Rose Bowl wins. That's 17 more than the next two closest teams (Ohio State and Michigan tied with eight). The timing of the expansion is also perfect for USC.

The College Football Playoff will expand in 2026 at the latest, but could expand the year USC football goes to the Big Ten in 2024.

If the College Football Playoff's expansion can happen before 2026, and particularly in 2024, USC football could not be going to the Big Ten at a more perfect time. USC will have two years with Lincoln Riley before they get to the Big Ten, so they are likely to be ready for the College Football Playoff by the time they get there. That being said, now they have a margin for error that they didn't have before.

SEE MORE: Examining USC football's record against every current Big Ten school

Riley likely doesn't need much of a margin for error, as he's never had more than two losses in a season. But get this, Riley at his worst was the 2021 version of Riley. That was the year where he finally didn't win the Big 12 for the first season in his career. Still, however, he finished in the top 10 of the country as he's done every season of his run as a college head coach.

So, once the Playoff is expanded, Riley can be at his worst and still be good enough to make the CFP. And then once he's in, he'll have a chance to go for that Natty. Everyone who's in would have a chance. (And even if the CFP takes until 2026 to expand, that still won't be long after SC makes the move to the better conference.)

Heck, remember USC's 2016 team? The team that started 1-3 but finished on a nine-game win streak and a Rose Bowl win? And one of those wins coming against a team that made the Playoff that year, in that team's stadium, convincingly? The team that NOBODY wanted to play if the CFP committee rightfully allowed them to be in the Playoff?

Yeah, that kind of team is now allowed in. That team finished third in the final poll. If the Playoff was 12 teams back then, they would have at LEAST got to the semi-final. The poll even acknowledged it. Analysts always mention that team as the type of team that wasn't allowed in the Playoff before, that would be if the CFP just expanded and gave them the chance they deserve.

Game-by-game predictions for USC in 2022. dark. Next

Now, the best teams will be in. There's no question. There will be a lot more games being played, and it probably didn't need to expand all the way to 12 teams, but this type of expansion is at least better than the current Playoff format. And USC, along with really every other team, will benefit from this.