History is up for grabs by USC, TCU and Tulane as Georgia and Michigan aim to finish the tournament strong at the weekend

In many ways, Lincoln Riley entered this season on the seat of his training pants. The Teleportation Gate was definitely a weapon, but it was an unrefined weapon. The USC coach told CBS Sports that he wouldn’t blame observers for considering this season an “experiment.” Twenty incoming transfers – the most for a single team at the national level – were not only accommodated, but excelled.

Should the No. 4 Trojans defeat No. 11 Utah in the Pac-12 Championship Game on Friday, USC will be conference champions for only the second time since 2008. It will also get a chance to compete for the national title for the first time since 2004.

“People will see this as a quick fix, an opportunity to maybe change something that happened,” Reilly said. “It’s like anything, whether you’re enrolling in high school [class or bringing in transfers]… some of them turn up and some don’t.

“I think a lot of us had it down to luck or skill or a combination of the two. We hit the right kind of kid.”

Across a seemingly dramaless championship weekend, the Pac-12 assumed the title for the most part. USC’s loss would open the door to giving No. 5 Ohio State new life in the College Football Playoff conversation.

Off the field, in the second year of the one-time transfer exemption, there is still no plan to use all-in-the-gate. There is not enough proof of concept. But for now, he’s the basis for the Trojans, which is 11-1 for the first time since 2008.

In this year of a turnaround, USC had this record rebound of 4-8, the school’s worst finish since 1991. Quarterback Caleb Williams, an Oklahoma transfer, entered Friday night as the favorite to win the Heisman Trophy. The Trojans’ top four wide receivers are all conversions.

One of the biggest criticisms of FTA, the locker room issues, has not been played out nationally—at least not publicly at this point.

“Fortunately, we brought in the right kind of men,” Riley reiterated. “They were locker-room type of guys. They really added to the culture. It would have been a disaster without that. If you put a group together that doesn’t feel energetic, there’s nothing worse than that.”

The last USC team to play for a national title in 2004 had 74 California players on its roster of 85 players (87%). This year’s roster features 42 players from out of state with only 62% coming from California.

Regardless, Riley wants to recruit more high school players. His class of 2023 is currently ranked 13th in the 247Sports Composite team rankings with 20 high school commitments and no transfers – so far.

“We definitely want to go back to the high school model more,” Riley said. “But I think we will always be in the market for some transfers. Early on, the first two years here will probably be a little more than that. [transfer heavy]. I hope we can build the foundation of the list – and I think we will – where we don’t need that many.”

Riley admits there’s a bit of a free agency feel to the current climate, but portability doesn’t mean it’s the best thing.

“Whether they go into business or the NFL or something else, you can’t jump in real life,” he said. “…it is already [free agency] To some extent. In the NFL, you have a professional poll. I don’t think this will be much different.”

We’ll find out more on Monday when the next nationwide transfer window opens.

do not hold your breath

As mentioned, this is the least exciting weekend tournament in the CFP era. No. 1 Georgia, No. 2 Michigan and No. 3 TCU are All but the locks are for the playoff, win or lose. USC might be one, too.

Think of it as a window into the future. With 12 teams in the 12-tea expanded playoffs starting in 2024, all of the top four teams could easily lose (as long as they’re okay with giving up a bye). Not only that, Ohio State, No. 6 Alabama, No. 7 Tennessee, No. 8 Penn State and No. 9 Clemson will all be resting comfortably on the couch.

On Saturday, everyone but the Buckeyes will need unexpected miracles. In 2024, they will already have their agendas in order.

Yes, in the future, tournament games will exist mainly for seeding purposes. If extended matches diminish the impact of league title matches, this is how they shake.

Part of the NFL’s allure is not just the scramble for playoff spots—14 in a 32-team league—but also the maneuvering for homecourt advantage and byes. The idea here is that the same kind of passion will lead to excitement in a 12-team playoff. Not just who is in, but who they can play at and where.

The conference championship games are not going well. It provides a major source of revenue in the league’s media rights contracts worth at least $3 million per school annually.

More on the year of transition

No. 18 Tulane is on the brink of the biggest turnaround in FBS history. The Green Wave are currently eight games better than they were in 2021, improving from 2-10 to 10-2. They could set the record on Saturday by beating No. 22 UCF in the AAC Championship Game, though they would also need to win their bowl game to set a new mark.

The all-time record for a one-year improvement currently stands at 8.5 games by 1999 Hawaii (4-9 to 12-0).

TCU and USC are also in contention to tie the record. The Horned Frogs (12-0) could improve by 8.5 games over last year’s 5-7 record if they win. The Trojans (11-1) could similarly improve by 8.5 games from last year’s 4-8 record if they win.

It’s the revenge of the nerds in the main Power Five games. All feature a participant with at least three losses: No. 10 Kansas State (Big 12), No. 11 Utah (Pac-12), No. 14 LSU (SEC), No. 23 North Carolina (ACC) and Purdue (Big Ten). The combined 19 losses in the Power Five major games is the second most in the CFP era. In 2018, the teams participating in the said matches suffered 21 losses.

LSU’s impact on Georgia could be significant. With the Tigers win, the Bulldogs should stay in the top four and could even repeat as national champions. But the Dogs wouldn’t do it in consecutive years without winning the SEC. The last SEC Championship was captured in Georgia in 2017.

The ACC Championship Game is the most important game between the Power Five. Clemson (10-2) and North Carolina (9-3) both go into heavy losses. The Tigers saw their 40-game home winning streak slowly slip away in a one-point loss to South Carolina, while the Tar Heels lost to an NC State team who was playing fourth quarterback.

A final word on the extended playoffs

It took 71 years to go from the first game defining a recognized national champion (Princeton v. Rutgers, 1869) to creating the AP Top 25 in 1936. From there, it took 62 years to determine a champion on the field with the Bowl Championship Series starting in 1998 This continued for 16 years until the College Football Playoff debuted in 2014.

The four-team playoff would last 10 years by the time he was First 12-team playoff in 2024.

From an official June 2021 announcement of the expanded playoff run through two earth-shaking raids (by the SEC and the Big Ten), through three new Power Five commissioners, through Rose Bowl stubbornWe’re finally here.

This was a significant week in the history of American sports. College football is essentially the last major sport to adopt a legitimate, progressive multi-qualifier.

Yes, it’s party time.

Quick kicks

One big reason for the SEC’s dominance: The Candidate has won 27 of his previous 30 tournament matches…remember Clay Hilton? His Georgia Southern offense was the best in the nation, scoring an average of 13.4 points per game over last year…Boise State meets Fresno State for the fourth time in the last 10 years in the Mountain West Championship Game…WINNER OF THE SEC GAME Championship won at least one CFP game since 2015… At 25 years, 1 month, and 6 days, Stetson Bennett will be the oldest quarterback to win an SEC title… The Pac-12 was the only conference with six teams in the CFP Top 20. It has had six teams with more than 9 wins. Seven of the 12 Pac-12 teams are bowl eligible. Ah, but in each case, USC and UCLA were two of those. Their final season in the league is 2023.

#History #grabs #USC #TCU #Tulane #Georgia #Michigan #aim #finish #tournament #strong #weekend

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