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Cal Football: 5 Questions for a USC Beat Writer

Claudette Pattison-Montana of All Trojans discusses the impact of Lincoln Riley's hiring.

There is a lot going on with the USC football program -- with a three-game losing streak a new coach high-profile coach and questions about where its star players could be a year from now.

Hoping to get a closer look at the Trojans, we reached out to Claudette Pattison-Montana, publisher of All Trojans, SI's USC team site.

As is our weekly custom during the football season, we asked her 5 Questions about Cal's next opponent.

In the video above, she talks about how surprised everyone around the USC program was by the hiring of Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley.

Riley's introductory news conference on Monday felt more like a coronation, with breathless endorsements of the man who guided the Sooners to a five-year record of 55-10 with three appearances in the College Football Playoffs and two Heisman Trophy-winning quarterbacks.

But once the buzz wears off, what are the immediate challenges facing Riley as he tries to rebuild the once-might Trojans into not only a Pac-12 contender but to a program that is again relevant on the national scene?

Pattison-Montana discusses those issues in the video above.

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In the video immediately above, Pattison-Montana shares what Riley's hiring already has meant to USC's recruiting. The early signing period begins on Dec. 15, and the Trojans are determined to begin the rebuilding process with an influx of new, young talent.

USC's roster includes two elite-level quarterbacks in junior Kedon Slovis, who was the 2020 Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year, and freshman Jaxson Dart, who shared the position with Slovis late this season and has started the past two games after a leg injury to the team's starter. Dart is expected to be the Trojans' starter on Saturday night at Memorial Stadium.

Will either or both QBs return to the Trojans a year from now? Pattison-Montana in the video above lays out what she anticipates will happen.

Yes, there is a football game this weekend. Neither Cal nor USC will play in a bowl game this season -- both are 4-7 overall, 3-5 in the Pac-12 and eliminated from postseason contention.

USC is in danger of losing four straight games for the first time since 2001 and Cal would like to reverse course after losing 42-14 at UCLA a week ago.

Pattison-Montana talks in this video about what she expects from USC after showing some signs of life last week when the Trojans overcame a 15-point deficit against BYU and took the lead before losing 35-31.

Cover photo of new USC coach Lincoln Riley, second from right, accepting a jersey from athletic director Mike Bohn, at his introductory news conference by Kirby Lee, USA Today

Follow Jeff Faraudo of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jefffaraudo