Every season a team seeks that identity or purpose. Some teams coming off great seasons try to push the bar even higher or to repeat if they were the National Champions that past year. Then there are other teams looking to take steps and try to regain their place in the eye of the fans and media. Setting high expectations is always sought after. No one wants to set goals where being 3rd is where you want to be. The participation trophies for those who just want to play have no place in today's hyper-competitive sports.
USC has plenty of ways to create a sense of pride and stay focused on the purpose of this year. This year, with the addition of a strong head coach and a good-looking staff, should be setting their goals to win the PAC-12 period. Win the PAC-12 and beat the teams you should beat is the focus on where they should be staring right now. The south doesn't really doesn't set a bar. It's a given and should never be discussed. Win the PAC-12 and strive to win out on your way to that title puts the program in the discussion for the playoffs as they sit today.
Is it realistic to see the 2022 USC Trojans in the playoffs this year? I would say ask me when fall camp starts. They have too much-unfilled roster depth with the promise of the Transfer Portal going to go big soon. Well, that's a big exposure right now. Might be the savior of how the team can look us all in the eye and dominate their 2022 schedule. Right now, it's clearly not there and the weakness in the roster depth is on the table.
Fast-forward and ask the question and assume USC pulled of miracle after miracle with Lincoln Riley's ability to attract the top TP talent available between now and the end of July and the answer is yes. This team if fully rebuilt and all in Fall Camp can compete for a playoff spot as the skilled positions are ready. There is plenty of talent assembled where the TP can fill out the proper roster to go deep into the season and be sitting there for a nod to the playoffs. The staff is not sitting back and saying talk to me in year 2 or 3. No, they are setting their sights on the playoffs and national championships. Nothing less.