Greg McElroy recently broke down the teams facing the most pressure heading into the 2023 college football season, and he has USC pretty high on his list.

During a recent episode of his Always College Football Podcast, McElroy provided 12 teams under the most pressure after 2022. He included the Trojans at No. 8 on his list with an emphasis on Lincoln Riley figuring out what to do with the USC defense.

“Lincoln Riley needs to address one side of the football, and you know what it is. I don’t need to explain what the deal is,” said McElroy. “Actually, if you want to take it one step further, Alex Grinch might have more pressure on him, but the SC job in general, a lot of pressure heading into this upcoming year.

“They feel like they’re in an upward trajectory, they feel like they might be in a position to break through with the College Football Playoff this season. You’ve got a Heisman Trophy winner returning. A lot to like about the roster, and a lot to like about the personnel, but if for whatever reason maybe you stumble… guess what, people are going to continue to beat down the narrative that Lincoln Riley is all about offensive statistics and he doesn’t care about the defense.”

Riley did produce an immediate 7-win turnaround for the Trojans in 2022, but the eventual end of the season left a bitter taste for many. USC would lose to Utah in the Pac-12 Championship before a thrilling but eventual loss to Tulane in the Cotton Bowl.