Oct 26, 2022; San Francisco, CA, USA; Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff during Pac-12 Media Day at Pac-12 Network Studios. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Pac-12 commissioner to visit SMU amid expansion talk

Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff was expected to visit SMU on Wednesday as conference officials ponder expansion, multiple outlets reported.

The Pac-12 will lose UCLA and Southern California to the Big Ten in 2024.

The Athletic reported that SMU, a member of the American Athletic Conference, has had conversations with at least three conferences since last summer. The list includes the Pac-12.

The Mustangs haven’t been in a power conference since 1996, when the Southwest Conference ceased operations. Former Southwest teams TCU and Houston are moving to the Big 12.

Other schools reportedly being reviewed for membership into the Pac-12 include San Diego State, Boise State and UNLV, per The Athletic.

Adding Dallas-based SMU would give the Pac-12 an entry into football-crazed Texas, and it’s a program on the uptick. The Mustangs have gone 32-16 over the past four seasons.

–Field Level Media

Nov 19, 2022; Pasadena, California, USA; Southern California Trojans wide receiver Jordan Addison (3) runs the ball against the UCLA Bruins during the first half at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Southern Cal WR Jordan Addison declares for draft

Southern California wide receiver and 2021 Biletnikoff Award winner Jordan Addison declared for the 2023 NFL Draft on Monday, the deadline for underclassmen to decide.

Addison, 20, caught 59 passes for 875 yards and eight touchdowns in his lone season with the Trojans. He transferred from Pitt ahead of the 2022 campaign.

Addison made the announcement on social media.

“To all my Pitt boys and my West coast men thank you for making this journey memorable forever,” Addison posted on his Instagram page. “See you on Sundays.”

Addison caught 100 passes for 1,593 yards and 17 TDS in 2021 at Pitt, earning him the Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s top receiver. He has 29 career TDs in 36 games at Pitt and USC.

Addison is widely considered one of the top three draft prospects at the wide receiver position and likely will be selected in the first round.

–Field Level Media

Sep 17, 2022; Los Angeles, California, USA; The SC Trojans logo at midfield at United Airlines Field at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum before a game between the Fresno State Bulldogs and the Southern California Trojans. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Heisman Trophy winner, USC RB Charles White dies

Southern Cal running back and 1979 Heisman Trophy winner Charles White died Wednesday after a battle with cancer. He was 64.

White died in Newport Beach, Calif., the school said in an obituary.

White led USC to the 1978 national title and a 42-6-1 record in his four years. He was inducted into the USC Athletic Hall of Fame in 1995 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 1996.

“He was the toughest player I’ve ever coached,” said John Robinson, White’s former coach at USC and in the NFL with the Los Angeles Rams. “He was really unusual in that regard. He was a great player and just loved playing the game. Those are the things I remember the most. He was a really tough guy, and he was an extremely gifted athlete. But the toughness … wow!”

White remains USC’s career rushing leader, with 6,245 yards. He scored 49 career touchdowns for the Trojans.

He rushed for 2,050 yards in 1979, tops in the nation en route to winning the Heisman.

White was selected No. 27 overall by the Cleveland Browns in the 1980 draft and went on to rush for 3,075 yards and 23 TDs in an eight-year career with the Browns (1980-82, 1984) and Rams (1985-88).

He earned Pro Bowl and first team All-Pro honors in 1987, when he led the league with 1,374 yards rushing and 11 TDs.

White returned to USC in 1990 as a special assistant to the athletic director. In 1993, USC made him an assistant coach in charge of running backs, a position he held through 1997.

–Field Level Media

Apr 23, 2022; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans defensive coordinator Alex Grinch during the spring game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

USC elects to retain defensive coordinator Alex Grinch

Southern California defensive coordinator Alex Grinch will return to the coaching staff under head coach Lincoln Riley in 2023, despite the Trojans’ issues stopping the ball this past season.

A multitude of miscues, including some on defense, prevented USC from preserving a late 15-point lead in the Cotton Bowl as Tulane rallied for a 46-45 victory at Dallas. But the Trojans’ issues stopping the ball were well known by then.

USC (11-3) advanced to the Pac-12 title game in a season when they gave up 27.9 points per game, which was seventh in the conference. The defense’s 415.1 yards allowed per game also was seventh.

“I know what he’s made of, I just do,” Riley said in explaining his decision Tuesday to retain Grinch. “I know what’s getting ready to happen defensively. And so, I just have a confidence and a belief there, not just in Alex, but the other guys in the room.”

Utah scored 90 total points in two games against USC, defeating the Trojans twice, including a 47-24 victory in the conference title game to earn a spot in the Rose Bowl. In USC’s three defeats, it gave up an average of 45.3 points, and that total does not include the 45 it allowed to rival UCLA in an eventual victory.

Grinch, 42, also was the defensive coordinator with Riley at Oklahoma before making the move to Los Angeles in 2022. He previously served as defensive coordinator at Ohio State (2018) and Washington State (2015-17).

“I’ve been through it enough with that guy to know, don’t bet against him,” Riley said of Grinch. “Anybody in a situation like that, where we know we need to take a big jump in all areas … (and) we need to own and fix the things we didn’t do well.”

Riley will not make any changes from the 2022 coaching staff outside of making Luke Huard the full-time inside receivers coach after he was in the position on an interim basis last season.

–Field Level Media

Jan 2, 2023; Arlington, Texas, USA; USC Trojans wide receiver Kyle Ford (81) is tackled by Tulane Green Wave linebacker Dorian Williams (2) in the second quarter in the 2023 Cotton Bowl at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Cotton Bowl: No. 16 Tulane rallies from 15 down to slay No. 10 USC

Michael Pratt connected with Alex Bauman on a 6-yard scoring pass with nine seconds left and Valentino Ambrosio followed with the decisive extra point as No. 16 Tulane scored 16 points in the final 4:07 to notch a dramatic 46-45 victory over No. 10 Southern California to win the Cotton Bowl on Monday at Arlington, Texas.

After a series of late-game laterals by the Trojans were unsuccessful, the Green Wave players and coaches stormed the field to celebrate a signature win for Tulane’s program.

Tulane (12-2) completed the biggest year-to-year turnaround in FBS history after going 2-10 last season. It’s the first time the Green Wave have won a New Year’s Six bowl game since 1934 and only the second 12-win season in program history.

Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams did all he could for USC (11-3), completing 37 of 52 passes for 462 yards and five touchdowns. Playing without star wideout Jordan Addison (ankle), Williams’ favorite target on the day was Brenden Rice, who hauled in six passes for a career-high 174 yards and two scores.

Tulane was led by a rushing attack powered by Tyjae Spears, who racked up 205 yards and four touchdowns on 17 carries. Pratt ran for 83 yards and completed 8 of 17 passes for 234 yards.

USC is still searching for its first bowl win since the 2016 season.

After USC opened the scoring with a pair of passing touchdowns from Williams, Tulane tied the game at 14 with its first passing score of the contest, with Pratt finding Jha’Quan Jackson in the middle of the defense. Jackson made two defenders miss after bringing in the catch, then broke up the sideline and outran the rest of the USC defense for an 87-yard score.

That touchdown for Tulane came after Williams was picked off by Jarius Monroe, and it seemed to tilt momentum in the Green Wave’s favor. But the Trojans scored twice more to take a 28-14 advantage into halftime.

Tulane cut the deficit to four points in the third quarter, but USC again pulled away with two more scoring strikes from Williams to eventually lead 45-30.

The Trojans grinded out long possessions and kept the Green Wave’s tired defense on the field for long stretches. USC converted 13 of 17 third and fourth downs and held possession for more than 39 minutes. Still, USC’s well-rested defense couldn’t stop the Green Wave.

With less than five minutes to play, Tulane showed life and began erasing that 15-point deficit. After Spears’ fourth score, Tulane defensive lineman Patrick Jenkins stuffed a USC rush attempt in the end zone for a safety. That trimmed the deficit to six points and set up Pratt to orchestrate a 12-play, 66-yard game-winning drive.

–Field Level Media

Dec 3, 2022; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Tulane Green Wave quarterback Michael Pratt (7) rushes in for a touchdown against the UCF Knights during the second half  at Yulman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

No. 10 USC missing key players for Cotton Bowl vs. No. 16 Tulane

Two 11-2 teams meet in the Cotton Bowl on Monday in Arlington, Texas, when No. 16 Tulane takes on No. 10 Southern California.

Both squads are coming off appearances in their conference championship games. The Green Wave beat UCF for the American Athletic Conference crown, while the Trojans fell to Utah in the Pac-12’s title bout.

Tulane is playing in its fourth bowl game in the past five seasons, but this may be the biggest bowl game the Green Wave have played in since they faced Texas A&M in the 1940 Sugar Bowl. Tulane has a chance to win a New Year’s Six bowl, beat a Power 5 opponent and achieve just the second 12-win season in program history.

For USC, an appearance in the Cotton Bowl caps off a remarkable one-year turnaround under first-year head coach Lincoln Riley. The Trojans went 4-8 last season — marking just the third time in program history that that USC took that many defeats.

With Riley on the sideline and Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams at quarterback, the Trojans won double-digit games for the first time in five seasons. USC enters the Cotton Bowl with the nation’s third-best scoring offense at 41.1 points per game.

Williams sustained a hamstring injury in the loss to Utah but aims to play in the bowl game.

“I’m doing well. Hamstring is doing well,” Williams said recently. “I’m confident that I will be out there.”

While USC will be armed with Williams, it will be missing a handful of key players on both sides of the ball. Williams’ top target — former Biletnikoff Trophy winner Jordan Addison — will miss the game due to an ankle injury. Addison caught 59 passes for 875 yards and eight touchdowns this season.

USC will also be without a pair of starters on the offensive line, Andrew Vorhees and Brett Neilon, who are rehabbing injuries ahead of the NFL Draft. And on defense, linebacker Ralen Goforth entered the portal and announced a transfer to Washington. Goforth had 43 tackles and an interception this year.

Tulane enters the game with the 23rd-ranked scoring defense in the nation, allowing 20.5 points per game, and the 18th-best pass defense, allowing 188.5 yards per game through the air. Facing a USC offense without Addison and with a reshuffled offensive line, the Green Wave should have a chance to frustrate Williams.

In the Pac-12 championship game, Utah sacked Williams seven times. Tulane tallied six sacks in the AAC title game against UCF.

Williams amassed 4,075 passing yards, 37 touchdowns and four interceptions while completing 66.1 percent of his throws.

“It’s very exciting, to have the opportunity to play a player of (Williams’) caliber, for sure,” Tulane linebacker Dorian Williams said, according to NOLA.com. “He has the ability to make any pass on the field and does a great job of moving in the pocket and outside the pocket. He has great legs.”

Tulane is led on offense by a mobile quarterback, too. Michael Pratt led the AAC in passer efficiency rating this season with a 159.7 mark, but he also rushed 114 times for 395 yards and 10 touchdowns. Through the air, he completed 64.5 percent of his passes for 2,775 yards and 25 touchdowns with five interceptions.

“We had a few of those mobile quarterbacks we played in games throughout this year,” USC defensive tackle Tyrone Taleni said. “We just needed to do better up front, making plays, executing our calls, and once we do that, it’ll be easy to contain him and not make any explosive plays in the backfield.”

USC is 2-1 all-time against Tulane, though the teams haven’t met since 1946.

This is the third time USC is playing in the Cotton Bowl. The Trojans beat Texas Tech in January 1995 and lost to Ohio State in December 2017. Tulane will be competing in the Cotton Bowl for the first time.

–Field Level Media

Oct 29, 2022; Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA; Pittsburgh Panthers quarterback Kedon Slovis (9) looks to pass in the fourth quarter at Kenan Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

QB Kedon Slovis announces transfer to BYU

Quarterback Kedon Slovis is transferring to BYU for the 2023 season, he announced Saturday.

Slovis, who started his career at Southern California, played the 2022 season at Pitt for coach Pat Narduzzi.

“I will always be grateful for Coach Narduzzi and the time I got to spend with all of my teammates at the University of Pittsburgh,” Slovis tweeted. “I’m excited for this new chapter and can’t wait to get to work. #GoCougs”

Slovis entered the transfer portal on Dec. 5, the same day former Notre Dame and Boston College quarterback Phil Jurkovec announced his transfer to Pitt, his hometown school.

In 2022, Slovis completed 58.4 percent of his passes for 2,397 yards with 10 touchdowns and nine interceptions in 11 games this season for the Panthers (8-4). Pitt will meet UCLA in the Sun Bowl on Friday.

Slovis has passed for 9,973 yards with 68 touchdowns and 33 interceptions in 32 games with the Trojans (2019-21) and Panthers. The Scottsdale, Ariz., native was the 2019 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and a 2020 first-team All-Pac-12 selection at USC.

–Field Level Media

Nov 19, 2022; Pasadena, California, USA; Southern California Trojans wide receiver Jordan Addison (3) runs the ball against the UCLA Bruins during the first half at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Southern California WR Jordan Addison (ankle) to miss Cotton Bowl

Southern California receiver Jordan Addison will skip the Cotton Bowl against Tulane due to an ankle injury and is expected to soon declare for the NFL draft.

Trojans coach Lincoln Riley said that Addison will continue to rehab the ankle he initially injured against Utah on Oct. 15.

Addison will be one of the top available receivers should he enter the draft.

Addison has 59 receptions for 875 yards and eight touchdowns in 11 games for the No. 10 Trojans (11-2). He missed games against Arizona and Cal after being injured against but returned to play in the next four games.

He played the first two seasons of his college career for Pittsburgh before transferring after the 2021 season. Last year, Addison won the Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s top receiver when he had 100 receptions for 1,593 yards and 17 scores for the Panthers.

Overall, Addison has 219 catches for 3,134 yards and 29 touchdowns in three college seasons.

Riley also said that starting guard Andrew Vorhees and center Brett Neilon will also miss the Jan. 2 game with injuries.

–Field Level Media

Oct 29, 2022; Tucson, Arizona, USA; Arizona Wildcats wide receiver Dorian Singer (5) reacts after being ruled out of bounds against the USC Trojans during the first half at Arizona Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

USC adds Pac-12 receiving yards leader Dorian Singer

Southern California added another offensive weapon for Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Caleb Williams, landing Arizona transfer Dorian Singer on Monday.

Singer led the Pac-12 in receiving yards in 2022 with 1,105 in 12 games for the Wildcats. He was a second-team all-conference selection and becomes the third former Arizona player to commit to the Trojans this month, joining defensive lineman Kyon Barrs and cornerback Christian Roland-Wallace.

All three players are eligible to play for the Trojans immediately.

Singer caught 66 passes for the Wildcats, including six for touchdowns.

The Trojans should be happy to have Singer on their side. In a 45-37 loss to USC on Oct. 29, Singer had one of his best games of the season, catching seven passes for 141 yards with three touchdowns.

USC is 11-2 (8-1 Pac-12) entering its Cotton Bowl matchup versus Tulane. Arizona was 5-7, 3-6.

–Field Level Media

Dec 2, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Southern California Trojans quarterback Caleb Williams (13) carries the ball on a 59-yard run against the Utah Utes in the first half of the Pac-12 Championship at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Southern Cal QB Caleb Williams named Player of Year

Southern California quarterback Caleb Williams was named the Associated Press Player of the Year on Thursday.

He received 32 of 46 first-place votes (117 points) to easily beat out TCU quarterback Max Duggan, who earned six first-place votes and finished with 64 points. Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud, Tennessee QB Hendon Hooker and Georgia QB Stetson Bennett rounded out the top five.

Williams, Duggan, Stroud and Bennett are also the Heisman Trophy finalists.

A sophomore, Williams becomes the first USC player since 2005 to win the award. Reggie Bush earned it in 2005, one year after Trojans QB Matt Leinart took home the award.

Williams led USC to an 11-2 record and a trip to the Cotton Bowl to face Tulane.

He completed 66.1 percent of his passes, throwing for 4,075 yards and an FBS-best 37 touchdowns. He rushed for another 372 yards and 10 TDs, setting the school record for total TDs and total yards from scrimmage.

–Field Level Media