Let's face it, when you make a shocking hire like USC did poaching Lincoln Riley from Oklahoma, the expectations tend to shoot up like an Elon Musk rocket.
After years of underachieving including just three conference wins last year and just four overall, the Trojans are now not only back in the national spotlight, but the College Football Playoff discussion as well.
So, what ever happened to giving a coach time to build a program?
Well, all that went out the window when Riley came to town, which raises the question as to whether or not USC can live up to these inflated expectations.
Irrelivant No More
USC enters 2022 as the favorites to win the Pac-12 (+140 FanDuel) and a win total of 9.5 that's juiced heavily to the over at -160. It's clear there won't be much of an adjustment period for Riley and his new program.
That all being said, these expectations are more than reasonable given his resume, and the aggressive offseason on the free-agent mar...sorry, I mean the transfer portal for the Trojans.
Riley has been to a New Year's Six Bowl or the College Football Playoff every year he's been a head coach in his career, with the exception of this past season, where he ended up with an Alamo Bowl invite. Still, the Sooners finished 10th in the AP at the end of this past season.
Then there's the talent that followed him to Los Angeles, with five-star transfers Caleb Williams, who has the third-best odds to win the Heisman, and Biletnikoff Award winner Jordan Addison to now throw to.
There's also five more four-star transfers in Eric Gentry, Mario Williams, Latrell McCutchin, Travis Dye, and Brenden Rice that Riley convinced to join him in Southen California (hard pitch I'm sure), and you're looking at essentially a brand new program heading into 2022.
Of course, USC isn't as deep as Alabama or Georgia, but that will likely come quickly with Riley now recruiting. They're also far more than just an improved program hoping to cross their fingers and double their win total of four from last year though.
USC is once again a legit powerhouse that not only can live up to these maxed-out expectations, but more than likely will, and there's no turning back after that.