Well, the phrase is definitely out there. USC sets its sights on the Utah Utes once again in 2022 only this time it's for the PAC-12 Conference Championship. Two teams from the Southern (old) conference are going head-to-head again following their regular season thriller where Utah scored late in the game and rather than tie it up they went for two points and were successful and beat the Trojans in Utah.
In Utah, the Utes are one tough team. Outside of the state of Utah (unless they go against BYU or Utah State) they are mortal and can be conquered. They have a coach who appears to be chiseled out of stone and if you were ever to describe the perfect-looking head coach it's Kyle Whittingham. He is being accused of whining about Utah and the media being on opposite sides of the outcome of Friday's game and is using this to stir the pot and bring his team to that chip level on each of their shoulders. Will it work? Probably not. The USC team they will face on Friday will not allow a very talented TE and QB to go off on them at will. Cam Rising will see containment pressure that has been fortified in recent weeks. Dalton Kincaide will not be this wide-open target to pick and poke at the Trojan's secondary as in game one.
USC's Coach Grinch has slowly but surely developed a defensive line, LBs, and Secondary to compete. Bend but don't break and lead the nation in Takeovers and more importantly at critical high pressured moments in a game. The changes he will need to make before Friday's huge spotlight in the championship game are mission-critical. Win and the Trojans advance to the CFB Playoffs. Lose and they will be headed elsewhere to be determined. Head coach, Lincoln Riley, has been right at Coach Grinch's side every week defending the development and progress. The culture on this team is 180 degrees from anything we have seen in the past 10+ years and it's these two men who are driving this in the right direction.
Coach Lincoln Riley is one year into his journey with USC. What a year it has been. He said the focus was on the culture then he emptied the cupboard to set the record straight. Over 50 new players and an entirely new coaching staff with only Donte Williams remaining. They worked with no runway to try and secure what they could from the recruiting trail but they knew this effort would be an uphill battle with little time to organize and preach the new program. That lead to the Transfer Portal (TP) and we all saw what happened there. Today we have an 11-1 team who last year at this time was 4-8 and a mere dent in the door of Heritage Hall. Listing away in the bay. Today the team no one wants to play lead but its uber-talented superstar quarterback Caleb Williams has shot at something the world will never forget. The college football playoff ticket could get punched with a victory over the Utah Utes this Friday night in Las Vegas. Something tells me will be smiling come Saturday morning.e