- The USC Trojans have climbed to +250 odds to make the college football playoff
- SoCal has put up at least 40 points in each of their first three games
- Read below to see if we think the Trojans are a good CFP wager
We haven’t seen these kind of fireworks in Southern California since Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart were lighting up scoreboards in the mid-2000s.
With USC off to a blistering 3-0 start, they have climbed to just outside the top-4 teams with odds to make the 2023 College Football Playoff.
The Trojans are currently ranked seventh in the nation in their first season with Lincoln Riley as head coach.
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USC entered the 2022 season with +400 odds to make the CFP. After their Week 3 win vs Fresno State, they’re now sitting at +250, looking up at only the bluebloods: Georgia, Alabama, Ohio State and Clemson.
Can the Trojans sustain this success and hang with the college football heavies?
Trjoans Can Put Up Points
Obviously, having Riley and his reputation for excellence is a match made for recruiting heaven in one of the premier markets getting talent.
His work as the head coach in Oklahoma produced stud seasons out of Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray and Jalen Hurts. Mayfield and Murray both won the Heisman Trophy and went first overall in the NFL Draft.
First TD with the Trojans for Caleb Williams 🎯
— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) September 3, 2022
The rebuild in SoCal was accelerated with the transfer of OU pivot Caleb Williams and stud wide receiver Jordan Addison from Pittsburgh. As the electric centerpieces of the offense, USC is obliterating the opposition, putting up an absurd 50.7 points per game, good for sixth-best in the nation.
Their 45-17 win over Fresno State was the third straight game they’ve topped 40 or more points. They’re monster frontrunners as well, having scored nine touchdown on 11 first-half drives — in fact, they’ve scored majors on their first three possessions in all three games this season.
Caleb Williams hits Jordan Addison for the 75-yard TD! 💥
— theScore (@theScore) September 11, 2022
Williams has just one 300-yard game so far on the resume, but he’s completing passes at a 74.4% clip while throwing eight TD’s to no interceptions.
Addison has been his major target: hauling in 18 balls for 295 yards and five touchdown grabs in three games. Williams is currently second in the 2022 Heisman Trophy odds, while Addison rounds out the top 10 at +5000.
It’s hard to imagine that with such a potent passing duo, USC actually runs it well too, averaging over 200 yards per game on the ground this season.
Can USC’s Defense Keep Pace?
While the offense has done a lot of heavy lifting, the Trojans’ defense has held its own, averaging just under 20 points allowed per game this season.
On the year, the numbers look gaudy: USC ranks first in the nation in turnover margin, with 10 takeaways while not yet committing a single turnover on offense or special teams.
S O L O with the SACK❕💥💥#USC Leads Rice 45-14 🏟
— Scott Schrader (@Scott_Schrader) September 4, 2022
They’re also second in Div I in sacks with 14, trailing only the Arkansas Razorbacks, and they have already accumulated 26 tackles for loss, which ranks them inside the top 15.
Still, while the opposition hasn’t been able to put up points, they’ve been able to move the ball. The Trojans surrender 360.5 yard per game, which is just 72nd overall.
Red zone INT for @USC_FB 😤 pic.twitter.com/Gxipdht4e2
— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) September 11, 2022
Part of their success has to be because their offense has put them into good positions to succeed, and they’ve been a bend-not-break unit.
Against Rice, the Trojans’ D had three pick-six scores in a 66-14 rout. They also had an endzone pick against Stanford and recovered a fumble in the red zone in a 41-28 W.
Trojans’ CFP Betting Outlook
It’s come together so well and so quickly for the Trojans, but we’ve yet to see them face adversity. Assuming their offense doesn’t rack up three TD’s on their first three possessions every game, in due time we will get to see how they fare against better defenses and better offenses.
Week 4 presents a good test with the undefeated Oregon State Beavers, a team that’s tied for seventh in the nation in scoring at 49.7 points per game.
They also have 13th-ranked Utah October 15, and even if everything works out, they still have to finish the year with cross-town rival UCLA and nemesis Notre Dame.
Still, USC is the definite cream of the PAC-12 crop, and I think they’ll be able to outscore whatever problems their defense might put them in, giving them a great shot at the playoff.
The Pick: USC to make playoff (+250)