After having USC highly ranked in 2012 and 2013, Phil Steele has put the Trojans back in his Top 15, but at No. 12 this year.
That places SC ahead of rivals Notre Dame at No. 17 and Stanford at No. 20. Neither UCLA or Arizona State has been mentioned in the Top 40 thus far, which could make the Trojans third in the Pac-12 South by Steele.
In addition to being ranked No. 12, Steele has pegged the Trojans to be ranked No. 14 in his projection of the preseason AP Poll, which is set to be released on Saturday, August 16th.
Steele projects the Trojans to have 14 returning starters and looks for the Trojans to improve off of their season last year.
According to Steele, Javorius “Buck” Allen and Tre Madden “may be the best running back duo in the country”, and USC has many upper tier units, including the defensive line and linebackers, which he claims are among the nation’s best.
Here’s a snippet from “Phil’s Forecast”, edited to remove abbreviations:
USC finished 10-4, three games better than 2012 and No. 19. This they are better off on scholarships, have 14 returning starters, avoid Oregon and Washington from the North and should be favored in 10 of their 12 games.
For the full PDF version of Phil Steele’s USC preview, click here. The 20th annual college football preview hits stores next Tuesday, June 24th.