Previewing Utah’s 2022 Schedule With Unrivaled: USC

May 16, 2022, 9:43 AM

Tavion Thomas - Utah Utes - USC Trojans...

Tavion Thomas #9 of the Utah Utes celebrates as he scores on a second half touchdown run during a college football game October 9, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

(Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY- Summer is around the corner which means it’s a great time to start thinking about the 2022 Utah football schedule. While we are still a few months out from fall camp, it’s never too early to start previewing the Utes’ opponents with the help of Alex Kirry and Scott Mitchell of Unrivaled. Last week we previewed Utah’s first game against Florida, with the help of Mark Long from the Associated Press. This week we will jump ahead to the seventh game on Utah’s schedule against USC on October 15th with the Voice Of USC Football, Pete Arbogast.

The Great USC Rebuild Of 2022

Much like Florida, USC is in the middle of what they hope will be a rebirth to their former glory. So far they have made positive headlines with the hire of Lincoln Riley from Oklahoma as their head coach, and have brought in new talent like quarterback transfer Caleb Williams. From Arbogast’s point of view, the only direction the Trojans could possibly go from last year’s lackluster season is up. It’s just a matter of how far up?

“Well, they are going to be better,” Arbogast said. “They can’t hardly be worse than they were last year. Especially toward the end of the season last year.”

Like Utah, USC has trended toward keeping their spring practices under wraps, but Arbogast has gotten a look at the Trojans and feels like the energy and effort was better than before. The tricky part was getting all the new names and numbers down.

“I actually had to take a roster sheet with me,” Arbogast said. “There are always guys who change numbers. That drives you crazy right there. Then we had 35 new guys that are either early high school guys or transfer portal guys. I know some of the guys, but not all of them. From what coach said there is probably going to be another shift of 15 or so in and out when spring ball ends. That being said, it looked like a better energy and better organization. From what I’ve heard from the guys that are close to me, there are always a few guys you are really close to on the team, and they said it was night and day inside and out from an accountability factor and the way they are doing things.”

How The Utes Look, A USC Perspective

Arbogast was very complimentary of Utah and the team he thinks they are bringing back in 2022. From his perspective the Utes should be the favorites in the Pac-12 and they should be in consideration for the College Football Playoff.

“To me, they are odds on to win it again,” Arbogast said. “Virtually everyone is back from that Rose Bowl team that should have won the game. They should be the Pac-12 Champions and they should be a National Title contender- a Playoff contender. We’ve got to play them up there which is never any fun for SC. Playing them in the Coliseum has been pretty good, but playing them in Salt Lake City has historically not been great.”

With that being said, Arbogast believes the match-up between the Trojans and Utes in Salt Lake City should be a good one. He believes enough time should go by for USC to be hitting on all cylinders with all the new pieces that have been put in place to make it an interesting game.

“I’ll bet it will be a better game than most think,” Arbogast said. “By then they should have gelled a bit. It could very well be a couple of undefeated teams playing each other that week.”

The Game Plan

It’s easy to imagine with the high expectations of bringing Riley in to recover USC from their mediocrity that the timetable for a turnaround will be short. Arbogast thinks 2022 will be all about USC getting their feet under them, but believes they could reach their expected potential as soon as 2023 or 2024.

“What do they have to do? Turn it around from an infrastructure sort of way- an attitude sort of way,” Arbogast said. “Make people believe you are on the up and on the come. They probably are going to do that with the new talent they brought in and the guys they have kept over.  I would be surprised if they are any worse than 8-4 and probably a tick better than that. A 9-3 seems really reasonable and a 10-2 would be great. Then I think you set the table for the following year to be back where you belong if you feel that way about USC football.”

A Note On Caleb Williams

The Trojans have always had great quarterbacks, but the past few years it has felt like they’ve underperformed. Williams transferred to USC to be with his former head coach at Oklahoma where he made a splash in the 2021 football season. The hope naturally will be that Riley and Williams pick up where they left off with the Sooners at USC.

“He reminds me a little of Sam Darnold in the most recent past,” Arbogast said. “Darnold you might recall had two years where he was good. The first one was the Rose Bowl Championship and the second one wasn’t as good because his offensive line wasn’t as good. He tended to scramble around when he wanted to the first year when his offensive line was good and the second year he scrambled around because he had to and paid the price through injuries. Caleb Williams is a more athletic version of Sam Darnold and he’s got a good offensive line.”




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Previewing Utah’s 2022 Schedule With Unrivaled: USC