Does USC Football Deserve No. 13 Ranking?
In the aftermath of a crushing defeat to Stanford, the Cardinal and Gold will definitely fall numerous spots in the AP Poll.
The best way to address this situation is to judge the other teams in the nation and try to rank USC on a combination of potential, most recent performance, and who would honestly win in a one-game series.
Teams that Should Be Ranked Ahead of SC:
Alabama, LSU, Oregon, Oklahoma, Florida State, Georgia, South Carolina, West Virginia, Texas, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Stanford
Alabama is still the consensus No. 1 and the rest of the teams on this list will fall right in line for a spot in the BCS after USC’s loss.
Teams like Oregon, Florida State and West Virginia will benefit the most from the loss and should be considered the favorites to reach the title game. All three of these teams possess Heisman-quality stars in DeAnthony Thomas, E.J. Manuel, and Geno Smith, respectively. Plus, all three are strong on the defensive front this season, which will help their quests to avoid classic upsets this season.
Notre Dame looked impressive this week against Michigan State, notching its first top-10 victory in over seven years. We obviously know how Stanford played, and I think the voters will heavily reward the Cardinal with a top-ten ranking.
Texas looked dominant again, making the three-team race in the Big-12 alongside West Virginia and Oklahoma, one of the most fascinating storylines to follow as the season progresses.
Teams that Should Be Ranked Lower than SC:
Clemson, Kansas State, TCU, Michigan, Louisville, UCLA, Arizona, Boise State, Virginia Tech, Baylor, Florida
These next tier-caliber teams will be in contention for their respective league titles, but will not be in the national championship hunt.
Colin Klein is a dual-threat extraordinaire for Kansas State and has allowed the Wildcats to notch a quality victory over Miami, in gigantic fashion, but only a 14-point victory over North Texas, which is troubling for its strength of victory.
UCLA and TCU, meanwhile, have taken care of business in convincing fashion and are starting to grow on the nation as surprise top-15 caliber units. We obviously need to see more out of UCLA, and for that matter Arizona, before voters can label them PAC-12 South challengers, but they have looked quite impressive so far.
Florida played well this weekend against a nationally ranked Tennessee squad and is starting to gel, offensively, with Jeff Driskel under center. This team has a favorable schedule without Alabama on it and could make a run all the way to the SEC Championship Game.
Where Does USC Sit:
According to our theory, USC will fall to No. 13 in the AP Poll. Luckily for the Trojans, Ohio State is ineligible for the postseason, and seven of the teams ahead of the Trojans either play in the SEC or Big-12.
Once teams begin to battle in league-play, the rankings will fluctuate and lower ranked teams will begin to ascend in the polls. It is not positive for USC’s case that they lost to Stanford, but it can recover as Pac-12 season rolls around.
An early chink in the Trojan armor will luckily only notch them down to a lightweight’s chance for the title at No. 13 in the AP Poll.