3 Big Ten football teams with the most to prove this spring

Utah v USC
Utah v USC / Meg Oliphant/GettyImages
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2. USC Trojans

This is still somewhat weird to type out "USC" in a preview article about the Big Ten, but that's what college football realignment has done to us.

The Trojans are headed to the Big Ten in 2024 along with three other teams from the now-defunct Pac-12. They had a disappointing 2023 season and that was with Caleb Williams under center. The 2022 Heisman Trophy winner was solid in 2023, but his team didn't help him out much. Plus, it felt like Lincoln Riley lost sight of the ultimate goals for the Trojans last season.

Everything was a nightmare for USC in its final year in the Pac-12 and now it gets a fresh start in the Big Ten, but it'll get that without Williams.

The Trojans have the most to prove out of any of the four newcomers, and yes, that includes Washington and UCLA which will both be fielding new head coaches next season. Kalen DeBoer left for Alabama after leading Washington to the national title game and Chip Kelly took a demotion to be Ohio State's offensive coordinator.

Riley and the Trojans, however, have to win now. The third-year head coach was hired at USC to win titles and he hasn't done that yet and now he's starting to fill out the roster with his guys. He needs to prove that 2023 was an outlier and not what is to be expected moving forward.

That starts this spring with a new quarterback under center and a fresh look on defense.