*full disclosure this piece is written by the same USC fan who wrote the story following head coach Lincoln Riley’s hire* I thought that was the single greatest day of my life, but I was wrong. The day that quarterback Caleb Williams announced his reunion with Riley, in fact, was. Last season, Williams burst onto the scene as a true freshman under Riley at Oklahoma.
Williams put up 1,912 passing yards and 21 touchdowns with just four interceptions and added 442 yards and six scores on the ground. He capped his season with 242 passing yards and three scores in a 47-32 bowl win over Oregon, his newest Pac-12 opposition.
Another year with Riley bodes well for the California transplant, as Riley coached Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray to back-to-back Heisman Trophies in 2017 and 2018, while Jalen Hurts finished second in the Heisman race behind Joe Burrow in 2019.
As one of the top QB names in the country, along with Alabama’s Bryce Young and Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud, it’s no surprise that Williams’ Heisman odds plummeted from +1200 (bet $100 → $1200) to +800 (bet $100 → $800).
Williams will feel right at home in Riley’s system, especially with the talent coming in, which includes the 13 transfers Riley’s snagged since he took over the program’s reins. In addition to four other Sooners, USC now boasts standouts from Alabama and Colorado. The class is headlined by Williams (duh), running back Travis Dye, receiver Mario Williams and linebackers Shane Lee and Romello Height.
So let’s look beyond a mere Heisman Trophy at the national championship. The sportsbooks say it’s a real possibility. At DraftKings, USC’s title odds fell from +3000 (bet $100 → $3000) to +2500 (bet $100 → $2500) after Williams’ transfer announcement, the fifth-shortest odds after Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State, and Clemson.
As much as I love USC, Riley’s success and what Williams has shown, there’s a reason Los Angeles is a sports powerhouse. The location leverages opportunities for players – which is more important now than ever before with name, image and likeness deals. Bet on LA, because no matter what, the draw of talent to Hollywood is irresistible.