The U and Trojan Nation hope to return to the national stage as soon this season and don’t be surprised if they do

While Alabama, Ohio State and Georgia lead the preseason polls both Miami and Southern California might be a good bet to join the 2022 CFP Playoff hunt.

As the start of the 2022 college football season remains about four months away some things remain the same. Odds makers have Alabama, Ohio State and Georgia the same trio from last season continue to be the heavy favorites. On the other hand, the Thai Sportsbook Vwin estimate that this is the top five to reach the top.

But the offseason has seen three former historical powerhouse teams have spent big to return to national prominence. Miami, and USC  have opened their large bank accounts to return their storied programs to fighting for national championships on a regular basis and they might both be good futures bets as both teams look poised to move into CFP Championship contention.

Miami Hurricanes quarterback Tyler Van Dyke (9) aims a pass during the first half of a NCAA college football game against the Virginia Cavaliers, Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

Down in Coral Gables the home of “The U,” brought in to run their Athletic Department Miami hired Clemson athletic director Dan Radakovich. The Hurricanes brought home new head coach Mario Cristobal, from where he was winning PAC 12 titles at Oregon.

Cristobal is a native of Miami and played for the Hurricanes under head coaches Jimmy Johnson and Dennis Erickson where he earned First-Team All-Big East Conference as an offensive tackle. He also played on two national championships 1989 and 1991 in Miami.

Cristobal has added some of the top assistant coaches in all of college football chief among them former Louisville, Texas and South Florida head coach Charlie Strong as his defensive coordinator who also is a world class recruiter. It was Strong who guided the University of Florida defense to a national championship under Urban Meyer.

The Hurricanes have a possible Heisman Trophy quarterback in Tyler Van Dyke who last year completed 62% of his passes for 2.931 yards with 25 TDs and 6 INTs. Coach Cristobal will have changed the look of the Hurricanes significantly from the way the roster looked in 2022.

After losses to early entry to the NFL, graduation and transfers, plus the additions of freshman and 11 players through the transfer portal, Miami will have 25 new players. Cristobal has given Hurricanes fans hope that as soon as this season he could have the best team in the ACC.    

They will face only two teams ranked ahead of Texas A&M and Clemson. Both of those games will be on the road and if they can win them the return of “The U,” might happen in 2022 way ahead of schedule.

Meanwhile, in Los Angeles they enticed Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley with a reported $110 million deal over 10 years to lead the Southern California Trojans back to their glory days. For Riley, who has been masterful at recruiting high schools throughout both Southern California as well as Texas he hopes to bring back the days when USC never let a top player in the region get out of town.

Southern California head coach Lincoln Riley talks with his quarterbacks during an NCAA college football practice Thursday, March 24, 2022, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Just like Miami the Trojans have a Heisman Trophy quarterback set to open the 2022 season. Joining Riley at USC is his former Oklahoma signal caller Caleb Williams who was a star with the Sooners.

Williams’s stats at Oklahoma were very impressive throwing for 21 touchdowns plus he rushed for six despite not even starting until the second half of the season. He averaged 9.1 yards per pass attempt and 5.6 yards per rush attempt.

The Trojans will have a running game to go with the passing game led by Williams. Joining USC is former Oregon star Travis Dye from Oregon, who averaged six yards on the ground last season with a total of 1,271 yards on the ground amassing some 16 rushing touchdowns.

While USC will be loaded on the offensive side of the ball it will be the defense that could be the key to if the Trojans are a true PAC 12 and national championship contender. The new defensive coordinator, Alex Grinch, another Oklahoma coaching transplant joined his old boss, Riley.

A quick look at their schedule has only two teams who will be ranked ahead of USC coming into the season: Notre Dame and Utah.

Right now, Trojan fans would be happy with a trip to a top bowl game but winning the PAC 12 title besting favored Utah and cross-town rival UCLA is really possible. If they can find a way to run the table, Riley might have USC in the national playoff picture.

The most recent CBS Sports Preseason Top 25

25. Cincinnati Bearcats

24. Penn State Nittany Lions

23. Houston Cougars

22. BYU Cougars

21. Wake Forest Demon Deacons

20. Oklahoma State Cowboys

19. Wisconsin Badgers

18. Oregon Ducks

17. Texas Longhorns

16. Michigan Spartans

15. Tennessee Vols

14. Southern California Trojans

13. Ole Miss Rebels

12. Miami Hurricanes

11. Clemson Tigers

10. Arkansas Razorbacks

9. Utah Utes

8. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

7. Texas A&M Aggies

6. Michigan Wolverines

5. Baylor Bears

4. Oklahoma Sooners

3. Georgia Bulldogs

2. Ohio State Buckeyes

1. Alabama Crimson Tide