USC 2022 football schedule includes favorable cushion for new coach Lincoln Riley

USC football coach Lincoln Riley throws a T-shirt to a fan during a basketball game Dec. 12
The Lincoln Riley era will officially open on Sept. 3 against Rice, a team USC hasn’t faced since 1971.
(Alex Gallardo / Associated Press)

The slate is officially set for Lincoln Riley’s first season at USC, and it appears to set up the new coach for a smooth debut in 2022.

The Trojans will once again avoid Oregon and Washington on their schedule. Riley’s first rivalry meeting with UCLA will come with an extra day’s rest, before the Trojans then face Notre Dame at home in their season finale.

In its most difficult road tilts, USC must travel to Utah (Oct. 15) and Oregon State (Sept. 24) in the first half of the season. But overall, the schedule sets up nicely for Riley to make a statement in his introduction to the Pac-12.

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That said, a friendly conference slate didn’t exactly help USC in 2021, as former coach Clay Helton was fired after just two games. The Trojans proceeded to lose eight games, before handing Riley the reins. Already, expectations for the new coach are soaring for next season.

Although an Oct. 15 road trip to face the defending Pac-12 champion Utes looms as USC’s most difficult test in 2022, the rest of its road slate, which includes UCLA, Stanford, Arizona and Oregon State, combined for a 19-29 record in 2022.

The Riley era will officially open on Sept. 3 against Rice, a team USC hasn’t faced since 1971. The Trojans will then travel to Palo Alto to open their Pac-12 slate against Stanford on Sept. 10.

From there, USC won’t have to play road games in consecutive weeks all season. For the entire month of November, it won’t even have to leave Los Angeles.

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The most difficult stretch of its schedule starts at the end of September with a trip to Corvallis, followed by consecutive home games against Arizona State and Washington State. Then, Utah awaits in Salt Lake City, before USC gets its bye in Week 8.


After a season sparing USC a Friday kickoff, the Trojans must face Colorado on a short week in early November. But the early matchup at least offers USC an extra day to prepare for UCLA at the Rose Bowl.

Riley will end the season against another first-year coach, as Marcus Freeman and Notre Dame come to the Coliseum for Thanksgiving weekend on Nov. 26.

2022 USC football schedule

Sept. 3: Rice

Sept. 10: at Stanford

Sept. 17: Fresno State

Sept. 24: at Oregon State

Oct. 1: Arizona State

Oct. 8: Washington State

Oct. 15: at Utah

Oct. 29: at Arizona

Nov. 5: California

Nov. 11: Colorado

Nov. 19: at UCLA

Nov. 26: Notre Dame

Kickoff times and TV info to be announced at a later date.