A lot of people seem to think so after USC’s 66-14 victory over Rice.
“It’s definitely a statement. That’s what we wanted to do,” wide receiver Jordan Addison said. “Week 1 we had to show everybody that this wasn’t just no hype. We ready to play.”
Well, yes and no.
Let’s keep it real. You can read breathless recaps elsewhere.
I guarantee you the USC coaches watching film today will feel differently than most fans. Especially on defense. The defensive line had only one player (De’Jon Benton) among the top 10 Trojans in tackles (Benton with five).
The secondary was definitely a work in progress. Rice lost its starting QB (Wiley Green) and tailback (Cameron Montgomery) to injury by halftime. Montgomery rushed for 99 yards in two quarters. The Owls’ best receiver (Cedric Patterson) didn’t even suit up.
Rice wasn’t very good but was giving USC problems.
So it’s a little early to start making bold statements. The defensive coaches will be worried about the way the corners played Saturday against meager opposition.
The saving grace is USC will be able to score points at will. Caleb Williams presents a lot of problems with his feet, not just his arm. His importance cannot be understated.
I haven’t really mentioned the offensive line because I think Williams made everything easy for the offense Saturday. I will say this: Andrew Vorhees was a preseason All-American but had two holding penalties vs. Rice.
All the USC linemen are going to have great Pro Football Focus stats because Williams won’t let himself get sacked. So it will mask the offensive line’s actual performance.
I joked in the offseson USC could be in 62-61 games. It’s still possible.
The question is who in the pitiful Pac-12 will challenge USC? Anyone? Anyone? Utah? Oregon? Washington?