WHAT ABOUT THE TROJANS AND BRUINS?
Here we are on the eve of another college football season and while much of the attention and focus has been on the transfer portal, the endorsement opportunities for the players and the mind-boggling conference realignments, let’s not forget the actual playing of the games themselves.
And few teams throughout the country will command the spotlight more than the two Los Angeles ones – USC and UCLA.
The Trojans are the gleaming new-look team in all the land with a high-profile head coach, Lincoln Riley (55-10 at Oklahoma), and nearly two dozen transfers on their roster. The only change they didn’t make was moving their home games from the LA Coliseum to the Hollywood Bowl but stay tuned.
All those transfers, led by quarterback Caleb Williams, the former five-star recruit from Oklahoma, and wide receiver Jordan Addison, who won the Biletnikoff Award last season at Pitt make USC a at least an outside real contender to land in the College Football Playoff.
The Trojans are already listed a co-favorite in the Pac-12. They should be 6-0 when they head to Utah on Oct. 15 for the showdown with the other conference favorite. After that it’s three winnable games and on to UCLA and Notre Dame.
And at UCLA, after an encouraging 8-4 season with a quarterback, Dorian Thompson-Robinson who has been at Westwood since Tom Brady was still in his 30s, optimism floats high.
There’s also talented running back Zack Charbonnet, who ran for 1,137 yards and scored 13 times after transferring from Michigan.
Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves, though.
USC is only ranked No. 15 in the Coaches first pre-season poll and UCLA is not in the top 25.
So, we’ll see starting Sept. 3 when the Trojans (against Rice) and the Bruins (against Bowling Green) open what should be a most interesting season.
It’s also the 19th anniversary of the Lott IMPACT Trophy with the annual black-tie event scheduled for December 11, 2022 at The Pacific Club in Newport Beach. By then, the fate of USC and UCLA will already be determined.