USC’s top 10 ranking is more a product of schedule than ability
USC Trojan enters this season with very high expectations and that says a lot considering their historic show that fans expect nothing less than a Pac-12 title and a top 10 finish. after the annual season. The additions of head coach Lincoln Riley and quarterback Caleb Williams sent Southern California foam at the mouth, predicting a potential playoff that would be USC’s first and Pac-12’s first since Washington in 2017.
Trojan got off to a hot start, with a 6-0 scoreline to start the new year. However, their opponents are not exactly world champions. In fact, Utah will be their first-place opponent this year. Despite this, the Trojans nearly lost to Oregon State, which was also Oregon State that barely overcame Fresno State en route and was quickly defeated 42-16 by Utah a week after narrowly defeating USC.
The Trojans were right to be afraid. They lost that Oregon State game all the way to the fourth quarter. Beaver ranked 54th in the country in allowed size per match and are allowing 27.2 points per game this year. USC Earn a total of three points for up to three quarters!
Now, it’s not fair to judge USC in just one game. Williams completed only 44.4% of his passes in that game, but he completed 64.5% of his passes during the season. Apparently, the whole Trojan attack was just a joke that day. Well, last week Williams wasn’t so great at home against Washington State either. He completed 15 of 29 188-yard passes and two points, but he was saved by an incredible second-half defense from his teammates and 28 made for Travis. Dye. I understand that Dye’s success helps Williams just sit back and enjoy the ride, but when he’s forced to throw, he looks lackluster, and that’s not going to reduce that against Utah.
It’s been a trend throughout the season, the arrogance of AP voters is blinding them to which team is the real best. I’m not saying Utah deserves the top 10. Damn, they’ve lost two games already, but both are relatively close, both are laning and both are up against Power 5 schools that aren’t rated Top 20. USC played a school, Washington State, that received the AP vote. Until a few weeks ago, Pitt was still ranked above Kansas despite having a record against lesser opponents.
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Like Pitt, the Trojans didn’t make the difference their top 10 ratings would indicate. They’ve shrunk after weak shows, hoping they can get ready for the game against the Utes. I don’t believe them. Utah is a better team. Up until a week ago, they were holding off every competitor under 30 (under 20 if you exclude Florida). They have scored 25 or more points in each game. Against better competitors, Utes has the edge over USC in terms of completion rate, opponent’s completion rate, number of javelins per game, number of opponent’s javelins per game, and very poorly behind on stats like yardstick per dash and total yardstick per play.
Arguably USC’s strongest point in defense is their defense. The Trojans’ Tuli Tuipulotu is about to have a three-pocket show against Washington State. However, Utah’s offensive line currently only allows less than one sack per game. Perhaps the transfer of Carson Tabaracci of Utah could help the Trojans expose Utah’s crime, but I’m willing to bet his knowledge of Utah’s system won’t be of much help.
Utes won’t just win this game. They will embarrass the Trojan attack. Williams has only one interception a year. That changes tonight. Utah will win this game and they will beat Trojan in AP poll.