Can Lincoln Riley Win A National Title At USC In His First Year?
It’s the wild, wild west in the college football landscape given the new NIL rules that have entered the sport. Since taking the job at USC, Lincoln Riley has put his hard hat on and completely overturned this roster what feels like overnight. It’s time to ask what is no longer an outlandish question…
Can Lincoln Riley actually win the National Championship in his first year at USC? Probably not, but make no mistake about it. The Trojans absolutely have a puncher’s chance. At minimum, this looks like a nine win team in the Pac 12 right out of the shoot.
USC currently has the number one class in the transfer portal and it’s really not close. Even the Ole Miss class of Jaxson Dart and Zach Evans sounds like chump change compared to what Riley has done with USC. Just through the transfer portal, USC has landed Caleb Williams, Travis Dye, Mario Williams, Shane Lee, and now most recently Jordan Addison.
The defense still needs some work. Especially along the defensive line. Any team that dominates through the run game will give this USC team problems. However, the offense is probably going to be a scoring machine from the get go.
The interior of the offensive line is filled with three redshirt seniors. If the tackles can perform, it’s hard to imagine this offense even being mediocre. I don’t think people understand what just happened.
Caleb Williams legitimately might be the best quarterback in the country. As a true freshman, Williams posted a 21-4 TD to INT ratio including a 64.5% completion percentage. Williams was in control and efficient right away even posting a quarterback rating of 169.6. I don’t care that he did it in the Big12 with Oklahoma last year. He’s the real deal and I haven’t mentioned once how electric he is as a runner.
A great quarterback is a beautiful starting point. We also know this is a weapons league. We saw what happened to Alabama even a year ago when Jameson Williams and John Metchie went down with injuries. Jordan Addison is an NFL caliber receiver and is fresh off winning the 2021 Biletnikoff Award. Bit thin but can really scoot and run routes. Long story short; way better than Drake London.
The Pac12 isn’t exactly a gauntlet. Utah is really well coached and will play great defense. Oregon just lost their head coach but still has talent from prior recruiting classes. UCLA is starting to become very respectable with Chip Kelly. Beyond that, there is no real competition. USC can and should run away with this conference.
Asking USC to win a National title is a tall ask in year one but getting to the dance is more than doable. Keep in mind, these SEC teams are just going to beat the piss out of each other all year. The 5th and 6th best SEC team will be better than any team USC plays all year out west. Just taking down an Ohio State, Alabama, Georgia, or even Clemson will prove to be a difficult task.
All aboard the USC bandwagon. Lincoln Riley is going to win and win big. Riley is dominating the recruiting landscape and will soon put the Trojans back in their rightful place. You know, the times where high school recruits never thought about even stepping foot outside the state of California. At this point, I’ll be stunned if USC isn’t ranked inside the top 10 at a point during the season. They’re going to be that good right away.