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Utah beats USC to win Pac-12 title, ending Trojans CFP chances

Utah beats USC to win Pac-12 title, ending Trojans CFP chances

Caleb Williams

Caleb Williams
Image: Getty Images

If you told USC fans before the season that the Trojans eulogy If the college football playoff hopefuls weren’t written before the conference title game, their reaction would have been euphoric. Although the first year under Lincoln Riley ended in disappointment – you don’t win the CFP and feel good about a loss no matter how much house money you have on the table – the prize of consolation could be a Heisman Trophy for Caleb Williams.

The SC quarterback hurt something early against the Utes in a slip on a 59-yard run, and all you need to know about his mobility as a playground along is that he finished with 21 rushing yards. He still finished with 363 through the air, and had the Trojans within striking distance at 27-24 in the fourth quarter – only to watch the defense fail to tackle Utah running backs en route to a 47-24 victory for the Utes.

It was the kind of loss USC skeptics had been waiting all season. Timely turnovers bailed out a defense that haemorrhaged yards while Williams and the offense had been literally perfect. In the first meeting between Utah and USC, Utes coach Kyle Whittingham opted to go for two and the win late in the game because they had spent most of the night in Salt Lake City chasing Jordan Addison and cy.

If QB Cam Rising hadn’t worked in this conversion, we would talk about whether Trojans are still worth an offer. That didn’t happen though, and as soon as Oregon lost to Oregon State, a rematch between the two seemed inevitable.

As someone who is nauseous at the thought of Ohio State and Alabama showing up in every CFP, I was immediately concerned. Utah ain’t afraid of no program in Pac-12 – Utes are the defending conference champions after all – and it shows in the way he didn’t flinch when the Trojans took an early 17-3 lead.

Utah tied the game at half and never trailed again after scoring early in the third quarter. Even after blasting himself on a legal jab that sent his helmet flying in the heat of the second half, Rising kept coming. Utah finished with 533 total yards, including 223 rushing, for USC 419 with only 59 in the trenches.

Image for article titled USC craps in Vegas, but Trojans gambled entirely with house money

Image: Getty Images

Southern Cal’s effectiveness in the running game wasn’t the same after running back Travis Dye was injured, and it’s small differences like depth that can mean the difference between a CFP appearance or a running game. banal bowl. Teams led by Riley routinely overcame defenses that ranked somewhere in the 60s in Oklahoma, and the Trojans were just around that number before Friday’s failed 47-point fiasco.

With Williams ineligible for the draft until 2024 and more than enough buzz to lure another round of high-profile recruits and transfers, USC’s schedule is ahead of even the biggest circuit’s schedule.

While this circuit is definitely in its feelings after taking the L on Friday, those who despise the Trojan fight song, “Fight,” and all that bullshit better take advantage of it now because if Riley was this close in his first round, the only real football fans of L.A. are not going to be tolerable for too long.

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