College football programs are as volatile as ever in the era of transfer portals. Last year at this time, the USC Trojans were one of the hottest programs in the country. Fast forward to the end of 2023, and the Trojans‘ 42-28 victory over #15 Louisville without Caleb Williams felt strangely necessary.
Head coach Lincoln Riley had a tough year due to his defense also having a tough year. Local columnists and players alike abandoned ship after a 7-5 season where the reigning Heisman winner broke down in tears because USC couldn’t keep the opponents under 40 points.
This led to 17 members of the Trojans entering the transfer portal. If Riley’s offense and sophomore quarterback Miller Moss hadn’t shown up in the Holiday Bowl, the mood ahead of the offseason and spring ball would have been much less relaxed.