It’s very clear: National media and coaches think USC’s 2022 defense will be horrible

·2 min read

It happened in the Pac-12 football media poll in late July. It happened a week ago in the USA TODAY Coaches Poll.

Now it has happened in the Associated Press Poll.

There’s no real controversy involved in USC being ranked behind Utah, the defending Pac-12 champion with a returning quarterback and a lot of resources on both sides of the ball. However, in a third straight major preseason poll, USC has been ranked behind Oregon.

Sure, the Ducks have a good team. They should be a top-20 team. However, Oregon is quarterbacked by Bo Nix, who is average at best, often worse. Go ask any Auburn fan about his level of consistency and overall quality.

Yet, another set of voters thinks Oregon is better than USC.

The Trojans have Caleb Williams, easily a top-five quarterback in the country with the upside to be a Heisman Trophy finalist. This is football’s most important position. USC is a million times better than Oregon at that position, and USC’s offensive line is solid. If guys get hurt, sure, USC takes a big hit, but injuries can and do happen to anyone, and team rankings generally don’t build in assumptions about injuries. We look at the teams as they are, not as we think they’ll be if a few injuries emerge.

If Pac-12 media, national coaches, and national media (AP poll) all think a Bo Nix-quarterbacked team will be better than a Caleb Williams-quarterbacked team, what does that say?

It’s really rather obvious, is it not? The coaches and media think this 2022 USC defense is going to be abysmal and dismal. Experts think the Trojans’ defense will be horrendous, not contentious. A turnstile, and quite vile. Weak and bleak. Terrible and unbearable.

Put things in perspective: With Caleb Williams leading a loaded USC offense, the Trojans are in for a very successful year if they allow four touchdowns (28 points) per game. USC will have a very hard time scoring fewer than 30 points per game in 2022. If USC allows under 30, the Trojans are almost certain to win. If USC allows under 30 points per game, the Trojans will lose only if Caleb has a horrible day or the opponent is able to hold the ball for 40 minutes and establish great field position.

Poll voters — media and coaches alike — are essentially saying they have no trust in the USC defense. They are telling the Trojans and the whole country that they think the Men of Troy will allow north of 35 points per game this season.

Your move, Alex Grinch.

Voters have made their preseason statement about USC’s 2022 defense. The Trojans get their chance to make their own statement on Sept. 10 against Stanford. (We’re not going to take the Rice opener too seriously.)

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Complete Pac-12 football game predictions for 2022

Story originally appeared on Trojans Wire