Arizona State vs. USC clash takes an abrupt turn

When Lincoln Riley arrived at USC in late November 2021, USC’s national outlook instantly changed. In this larger context, the stakes related to the various USC games in 2022 have also changed instantly.

However, in December of last year, it looked like the Trojans’ game against Arizona State was going to be a big, defining moment of the 2022 season. Jayden Daniels hadn’t left Tempe. Eric Gentry had not transferred from ASU to USC. Jermayne Lole had not left the Sun Devil program. Arizona State hasn’t been gutted by transfer departures and the continued fallout from the program-crushing COVID-19 recruiting scandal. Arizona State has also fallen behind in the world of NIL donor collectives, which is one of the underlying reasons the Sun Devils have lost so much ground.

Compared to last December, the stature of the USC-ASU game in 2022 has fallen off a cliff. What once seemed like a big divisional battle (especially since the Pac-12 had yet to change its conference championship game format to minimize divisional results) now looks like a USC blowout that doesn’t will not arouse significant national interest.

We talked about it with the Arizona Republic’s Michelle Gardner on Mark Rogers’ show at The Voice of College Football: