The Trojans beat Cal for the ninth straight time on Saturday, 27-9 at the Coliseum. What it did for the team was build confidence that many of the mistakes in the Stanford game have remedies, but what the win didn’t do however, was gain confidence in pollsters as the Trojans dropped one spot in the Coaches Poll and are now ranked 13th in both polls, while staying in a holding pattern in the AP Poll.
While it’s surprising on the surface that the Trojans didn’t move up in the polls when two teams, Oklahoma and Clemson, lost above them, it’s neither a big deal nor a shock when you consider that the Cal game was not televised to a big audience given the Pac-12 Network’s standoff with DirecTV, and how USC had to fight in the fourth quarter to cover the spread. When most of the pollsters are not watching the game, style points matter.
In terms of the National Title hunt, the Trojans still need help, as a Florida State win over Clemson puts the Seminoles in a very good spot to run the table, which would in theory take the spot that USC is vying for in the title game, assuming an SEC team makes it in. What does help the Trojans is that they still have two undefeated teams left on their schedule, No. 2 Oregon and No. 10 Notre Dame, both of which come to the Coliseum in November.
The new polls now feature four Pac-12 teams as opposed to five last week, as Arizona and UCLA dropped out, with Oregon State’s win over UCLA propelling them in the rankings, and at No. 18 in the AP Poll.