The preseason hype is here. The USC football team knows it is expected to achieve richly, unlike the 2022 season in which a lot of pundits and commentators had their doubts about the Trojans.
This year, it’s supposed to be Pac-12 title or bust, and the College Football Playoff is supposed to be a very realistic possibility — not necessarily a likelihood, but a definite part of the expectations for the Men of Troy.
ESPN college football writer Mark Schlabach thinks the Trojans will not only win the Pac-12 but make the playoff as well:
“In what will be the final season of the Pac-12 as we know it, one of its teams will finally make the CFP. A Pac-12 team hasn’t made the four-team playoff since Washington fell to Alabama in a semifinal in 2016. Even worse, three of the past four Pac-12 champions in full seasons (not counting the COVID-delayed 2020 slate) had three losses or more. With former Oklahoma State linebacker Mason Cobb and other key transfers shoring up the defense, USC will finally figure out how to slow down opponents and win the Pac-12. As far as a Lincoln Riley-coached team winning a CFP semifinal, well, let’s talk about that later.”
We hope we will get to talk about Riley in a playoff semifinal, too … but we’re a long way from that happening. It’s all about walking the walk and getting the job done.