With all of college football done with spring camp, it’s the week for post-spring rankings, and the always wonderful ESPN Pac-12 Blog is no exception to that trend. This afternoon, Ted Miller and Kevin Gemmell posted their Pac-12 post-spring power rankings, with the Trojans coming in at lucky number seven, just behind Oregon State and Washington. It’s a tad lower than most rankings seem to have USC right now, but they make a decent case.
This low power ranking has nothing to do with talent or potential. The Trojans have enough talent, if things come together, to play in the Rose Bowl. But coach Lane Kiffin sits on the hottest seat in the conference, the Trojans are adopting a new defense under Clancy Pendergast, and there are questions at quarterback and in the secondary. The Trojans might be the most volatile team in terms of predictions. They could win 10 games. Or six.
There’s a lot to be said there. While USC gets a more favorable schedule, an improved defensive scheme and a very top-heavy incoming recrutiting class, all of which makes a 10-win season sound doable, just remember that the Trojans had arguably their best roster since 2005 last year, and lost six games.
Injuries have to be a concern going into the fall with a reduced roster, as does the offensive scheme which might end up being one-dimensional and skewed towards Marqise Lee.
That said, a 6-7 season looks highly unlikely with the schedule that USC has. Games against Hawaii, Boston College and Colorado are gimmies, while the Trojans should beat Washington State, Utah State and Utah. That’s six wins right there, barring any surprises.
Should SC split the Arizona schools, they could conceivably head to Notre Dame at 5-1. At that point, the season could any which way for the Trojans, and right know, that’s OK for this squad.
Expectations were lacking going into 2011 and the Trojans played to a very well-coached 10-2 record, while the opposite could be said last year. Add in a small roster and new quarterback, plus an easier schedule and it’s easy to see why USC is”the most volatile team in terms of predictions”.