Phil Steele released his way-too-early predictions of what the Preseason AP Poll will look like in the coming months, and despite an awful 2012 effort, Steele anticipates the Trojans being No. 25 going into the 2013 season.
While it may seem a stretch to have the Trojans ranked at all going into 2013, Steele articulates why USC will be int the Top 25, and it makes sense:
No. 25 USC-No team underachieved more last season than USC, who became the first team ever to go from preseason AP No. 1 to unranked by the end of the season. However, this year the Trojans welcome back 15 returning starters including their leading rusher Silas Redd and the nation’s best WR in Marqise Lee. On defense, they return 5 of their top 5 leading tacklers and the schedule has them playing 5 Pac-12 home games (just 4 away) and they avoid Oregon from the Pac-12 North while playing both Stanford and UCLA at home.
The Trojans have a very favorable schedule in 2013, one that brings two of their rivals to them, while forcing them to travel to Arizona State, Notre Dame and Oregon State, in addition to Hawaii and Colorado.
Aside from schedule, USC totes a stacked roster this season, though the team’s ability to stay healthy will play a major factor in how well this team does.
The Trojans are currently without starting running back Silas Redd and tight end Xavier Grimble, as well as defensive backs Su’A Cravens, Demetrius Wright and Gerald Bowman, among others. Fortunately Redd, Grimble and Cravens are slated to be back by fall camp, but being able to field a team of the most capable, productive bodies will be the difference between USC making up for their failures last season and falling short of expectations once again.
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