Prior to this season, USC football was going through a rough patch to say the least. The USC Trojans have only won one Pac-12 title since Pete Carroll left after the 2009 season. That time came in 2017. The only time USC has finished anywhere near the top of the national rankings in the post-Carroll era has been one season Earlier in 2016, when Sam Darnold led a win over Penn State in the Rose Bowl. After that, it was a picture of mediocrity with the Trojans never returning to glory. The 2021 season was a particularly low point for the Trojans. They finished 4-8 for their worst record since 1991. Clay Hilton shot two games on the season.
Now, USC is firmly back in the national championship conversation, thanks in large part to Caleb Williams and new head coach Lincoln Riley. The Trojans are 10-1 this season and likely only two wins out of the college football game. They’ve already earned a spot in the Pac-12 Championship Game and are in the driver’s seat to win the conference for the first time since 2017.
The big key to football’s comeback at USC has been Caleb Williams’ ability to power it up when the lights are bright. He played his best in the biggest moments. Trojans give a chance to win every time. He had a stellar game in USC’s 43-42 loss against Utah on October 15, throwing for 381 yards and five touchdowns while fighting to the end.
Then, against UCLA on Saturday, Williams played the game of his life. He completed 32 of 43 passes for 470 yards, a career high mark, and two touchdowns. Score another touchdown on the ground. If Williams hadn’t been at the top of his game, the Trojans wouldn’t have won this 48-45 thriller over UCLA.
If the Heisman Trophy was voted on today, I would vote for Caleb Williams. He has USC in the playoff mix as the only losing team left in the Pac-12.
His numbers (35 touchdowns, 2 interceptions, 63.7 completion percentage) are impressive, but they are more than just stats. Oklahoma’s transition in his first year at a new school featured new teammates and zero margin for error. If USC beats Notre Dame at home and wins the Pac-12 title, it will be one of the most remarkable turnovers in the modern era of college football.
I expect NYC’s Heisman winners to be North Carolina’s Drake May, Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud, Georgia’s Stetson Bennett, and Caleb Williams. We’ll see what happens in the next couple of weeks.
Will Heisman lose Caleb Williams?
The story originally appeared on Trojans Wire