USC Football: Trojans Ranked 3rd In USA Today Coaches’ Preseason Poll


Nov 26, 2011; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans quarterback Matt Barkley (7) leads the Spirit of Troy marching band in a rendition of Conquest after the game against the UCLA Bruins at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. USC defeated UCLA 50-0. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE

em>USA Today released its preseason poll this morning, and as expected, USC is a top-ranked team. What may be surprising to some though, is that instead of being given the top spot, the coaches voted USC the No. 3 team going into the 2012 season.

Defending champions LSU and their challengers, Alabama, claimed the No. 1 and No. 2 spots. Interesting to note though, LSU received 18 first place votes, two fewer than Alabama got. According to USA Today, this is the first time since USA TODAY Sports began the coaches’ poll in 1991 that the preseason No. 1 had fewer first-place votes than the runner-up. The 15-point spread between first and third is also the tightest of any preseason poll in that span.

Even more interesting, USC received the second-most first place votes, with 19. So how exactly does LSU, the team with the THIRD most 1st place votes end up topping the Coaches’ Poll?

Conspiracy. Or Bias. Whatever you want to call it.

Rounding out the top five are Oklahoma at No. 4, who went into the season ranked No. 1 last year, and Oregon at No. 5.

The SEC has five teams in the top 10 and seven in the Top 25, and since they are widely considered the best conference in college football, this comes as no surprise. The Big 12 has six teams in the mix, including newcomers TCU and West Virginia.

This poll marks only the second time since the 1998 season when the BCS era began that teams that played in the previous BCS title game began the following season Nos. 1 and 2 in the coaches’ poll. The other time was 1999 with Florida State opening No. 1, followed by Tennessee.

USC is returning an incredibly stacked team, featuring two 1,000 yard rushers (with the addition of Silas Redd), two 1,000 yard wide receivers, and a quarterback that threw for 3,500 yards last season. Sitting in the No. 3 position, USC has a little wiggle room to get better and rise up as the season progresses, as opposed to being ranked No. 1, where the options are maintain the ranking or fall from it.

More preseason polls will be released as the season inches closer, and expect USC to be in the Top 5 of all of them.

Here is the USA Today Coaches’ Poll in its entirety:

1. LSU (18)132. Alabama (20)3. Southern California (19)4. Oklahoma (1)5. Oregon6. Georgia7. Florida State (1)8. Michigan9. South Carolina10. Arkansas11. West Virginia12. Wisconsin13. Michigan State14. Clemson15. Texas16. Nebraska17. TCU18. Stanford19. Oklahoma State20. Virginia Tech21. Kansas State22. Boise State23. Florida24. Notre Dame25. Auburn