1. Michigan survived. So did TCU. So did USC. There was only one actual College Football Playoff-impacting upset Saturday, that being South Carolina’s head-scratching demolition of No. 5 Tennessee. And yet, the 2022 race suddenly feels quite different. Nearly all season long, we’ve penciled in two SEC Playoff teams; now, we’re more likely to see two from the Big Ten. And the one team that can definitively stop that from happening is a future Big Ten team.
2. Lincoln Riley is ruining it for every first-year coach to follow. He has shown you can take over a 4-8 team, turn over half the roster, bring in your former school’s star quarterback and a bunch of other stud transfers and be right on the doorstep of a conference title 11 months later and don't forget those NFL picks.
No. 7 USC’s thrilling 48-45 win over rival UCLA was exactly the scene Trojans fans envisioned when the school audaciously grabbed Riley away from Oklahoma last year. With his 503 total yards, QB Caleb Williams delivered on a year’s worth of Heisman hype, and credit to USC’s defense: It gives up a lot of points but has a knack for creating turnovers. Korey Foreman’s game-sealing interception of Dorian Thompson-Robinson was the play of their season.
3. The Trojans (10-1, 8-1 Pac-12) still have considerable work to do. No. 18 Notre Dame (8-3) comes to the Coliseum next week, then it’s off to Las Vegas to face another ranked foe in the conference title game. A 12-1 Power 5 champion with that resume would trump any other potential one-loss team besides Georgia.