How do we know football season is upon us? Because on the first day of August, USAToday released it’s first Coaches’ Poll of the 2013 season, signaling it is time once again to get ready for some football. Unlike 2012, the Trojans are going into this season with no hype whatsoever; still, they rank No. 24 in the preseason poll.
Alabama, Ohio State, Oregon, Stanford and Georgia comprise the Top 5 of the Coaches’ Poll. Only three teams received first place votes: The Buckeyes got three, Texas A&M had one, and The dominant Crimson Tide received the other 58.
Aside from Oregon (No. 4), Stanford (No. 5) and USC (No. 24), the UCLA Bruins (No. 21) and Oregon State Beavers (No. 25) also received Top 25 rankings, giving the Pac-12 a total of five ranked teams. Only the SEC has more, with six; the Big 10 also has five teams in the Top 25.
Neither USC nor UCLA impressed at the end of the season, combining for a six-game losing streak. For UCLA, they lost to Stanford twice, first in their final game of the regular season and then in the Pac-12 Championship. They then got blown out by Baylor in the Holiday Bowl. The Trojans of course lost to both UCLA and Notre Dame in back-to-back weeks, followed by an embarrassing performance in the Sun Bowl where they lost to Georgia Tech.
But the Bruins bested the Trojans and return largely the same team this season and for that they enter 2013 ranked ahead of USC for the first time in years.
In the minds of voters, both teams have vastly improved from their respective season-ending skids, and will be amongst the top teams in college football once again.
The Trojans start near the bottom of the pack in 2013, the exact opposite of where they began their 2012 effort. This time around, the team maintains a very important mindset that they learned last season: it’s not where you start that matters, but where you finish.
For a complete look at the USAToday Coaches’ Poll, click here