Looking ahead to the 2023 USC football schedule, here are the three hardest games the Trojans will face next season.
The 2022 USC football season was a dream come true for Trojans fans, despite falling one win short of a Pac-12 championship and the College Football Playoff.
Consecutive losses to end the season put a damper on what USC football was able to accomplish in 2022 but it really shouldn’t. The Trojans were 4-8 in 2021 and nobody expected Lincoln Riley to be able to do what he did.
Except maybe Riley and his star quarterback Caleb Williams.
Williams won the Heisman and is set to be the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2024 assuming everything goes according to plan.
As far as what the 2023 season will look like for the Trojans, we examine the three hardest games on the 2023 schedule.
3. Utah (at home, Oct. 21)
USC football fans might argue that this game should be higher on the list. They might be right too. Cam Rising dominated against USC last season and so did the Utah defense.
The Utes also beat USC in Utah last season, so they kind of have the Trojans’ number. However, with the game in Los Angeles, and in the middle of the season, I’m expecting USC football to have the edge. Utah will be really good again, but there are tougher games on the schedule.
2. At Notre Dame (Oct. 14)
Honestly, it’s really hard to choose which game is tougher: Notre Dame or Utah.
Both teams are expected to be really good on defense. Marcus Freeman and Kyle Whittingham are two of the best defensive minds in college football.
The Irish also landed Sam Hartman in the transfer portal, who is right there with Rising as one of the top returning quarterbacks in college football. In terms of pure passers, few are better than Hartman who likely would have been an NFL draft pick if he declared.
Notre Dame had a solid defense and a good running game, just like Utah. It didn’t have a quarterback. Now it does and that’s why Notre Dame is No. 2 on the list.
1. Oregon (on the road, Nov. 11)
Oregon and USC didn’t play last season and this matchup will be great for college football fans come November. Both teams should be in the Pac-12 title hunt, as well as in the mix for the playoff.
As long as neither team has more than one loss, this game will have plenty of implications. Dan Lanning and the Ducks also fell on their face at the end of last season, losing to Oregon State and Washington to miss out on their Pac-12 title shot.
It’s hard not to see the winner of this game playing for the Pac-12 title. Bo Nix and the Ducks are loaded. Again, it’s an elite QB, pair with a stellar defense and a good running game.
Both teams should win double-digit games, but having to play Oregon, possibly in the elements, won’t be easy and that’s why this is the hardest game on the 2023 USC football schedule.