In 2021, the place to be for football fans is Los Angeles. This isn’t just because of the Rams, but because of the quality of play that will exist with all the teams in the City Of Angels. The Rams will be competitive in the NFC West. The Los Angeles Chargers will be a solid playoff-bound team out of the AFC West, and USC Trojan football looks to be a contender to win the southern side of the PAC-12. As for UCLA, we’ll, the occasional miracle could happen.
This is the state of college football in Southern California. More importantly, it shows how pivotal Los Angeles has become.
The NFL has gotten most of it correct. NFL Media will soon call LA home, but to bring the league full circle, 2021 and beyond needs to have New York in the rearview mirror, and Los Angeles front and center. It also needs to make sure that the NFL Combine becomes a regular LA gig and not some traveling roadshow.
As for the teams, Los Angeles has become incredibly relevant in a short period of time. After Jeff Fisher went belly-up with a 4-9 record to effectively end a mediocre NFL head coaching career, the Rams rebounded. LA quickly became not just a factor in the NFC West, but a legitimate Super Bowl contender. As if that wasn’t enough, the Los Angeles Chargers have a new swagger that has Bolts fans thinking postseason and beyond.
If Sunday football isn’t enough for you, Saturdays could be equally compelling. USC football should have an edge on everyone in the PAC-12 South. Southern Cal started a shortened COVID-19 season going 5-0, before losing in the PAC-12 Championship Game.
Since then, the Trojans have nailed down a top-10 recruiting class, including the country’s No. 1 recruit. They also managed to retain 16 starters from both the offense and defensive side of the football. Coming off of a season like 2020, that could bode well for Troy.
UCLA could be a dark horse in Los Angeles as Chip Kelly looks to finally turn things around for a once-proud program. The Bruins are returning 19 starters, meaning consistency will be an asset for the fourth-best team in LA.
Unfortunately, they play in the shadow of USC. So, end even though they play in the relatively weak southern division of the conference, they will have their chances. Getting into the bowl mix and being a competitive team week in and week out will be a significant upgrade for a program with a rich tradition. Simply put, UCLA can’t afford another season of squandered opportunities.
In many ways, Los Angeles is the melting pot for sports, especially in the fall. With football being America’s pastime, weekends in Southern California are a fan’s dream. The Rams, Chargers, Trojans, and Bruins are teams that will be a combination of competitive and contender. If any of the four can capture lightning in a bottle, then the sky’s the limit.
No longer is New York, Columbus, Tuscaloosa, Clemson, Chicago, Dallas, Austin, or Norman the prescribed destination in the fall. A weekend in Los Angeles can provide the best of both worlds, making Southern California ground zero for football this fall, and many more to come.