USC Football: Trojans Ranked No. 1 By AP Poll


Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE

The Associated Press released its Top 25 poll Saturday, and the USC Trojans have garnered the top spot. In spectacular fashion SC has weathered crippling sanctions, struggled through a 8-5 season to surge back to 10-2 the following year, and has returned to its familiar spot amongst college football elite.

This is the seventh time in school history that USC has been ranked No. 1 by the AP, and the first time in five seasons. They edged out Alabama and LSU (likely thanks to Tyrann Mathieu’s sudden dismissal for failing repeated drug tests) to be No. 1, receiving 25 of a possible 60 first-place votes from members of the media.

USC received 1,445 points total.

Oklahoma and fellow Pac-12 team, Oregon, make up the Top 5.

When the NCAA hammered USC with sanctions in 2010, many thought it would be a long road back after the Trojans’ fall from grace. When Pat Haden took over for Mike Garrett as the AD and then hired Lane Kiffin, the black sheep of the SEC, many Trojan fans grumbled loudly. However in just two years, Kiffin has amazingly turned this team around and has given LA football fans something to talk about.

Coach Kiffin spoke on the No. 1 ranking to ESPN:

"To be handed down what they said could be a death penalty, could take USC 10 years to come back from, then to have this recognition and be preseason No. 1 is very exciting for our fans because a lot people thought two years ago that this would not be possible for USC."

Based on history, having Kiffin back at the helm while SC is so highly-ranked could be a good thing for the Trojans: When he was an assistant coach from 2001-09 under Pete Carroll, USC won two national championships and played for a third, went to seven straight BCS bowl games and racked up three Heisman Trophies.

At one point, USC even spent a record 33 straight weeks at No. 1. So Kiffin is no stranger to success in LA.

Kiffin also noted that the energy surrounding this season is palpable, and reminds him of what it was like in the Decade of Dominance.:

“Games already sold out. Just the energy around it. All those different things. That’s how it was before. I’ve talked to these players about it.”

However, the road to redemption is not paved too easily for USC.

The Trojans have to take on Oregon on Nov. 3, which is also the date set for LSU/Alabama 3.0. That is an extremely important date for college football fans, as the outcome of both games will have serious implications for the BCS national title. Furthermore, for USC to get to that they will likely have to face the Ducks one more time, in the Pac-12 title game.

USC also has to play Washington and Utah on the road, two games that could easily go the other way if the Trojans don’t bring their A-game. Going all the way as the No. 1-ranked team is tough, but USC has done it once in school history, in 2004.

However, Kiffin–and his players, for that matter–have streed that “Prep Not Hype” is their mantra for the season, and that the only ranking that matters is the one at the end of it.

This is very true but for Trojan fans, it’s the one at the beginning of the season, the one that signifies that the Trojans are back, that is going to fill seats in the Coliseum this year.

Here’s a look at the AP Top 10:

No. 1: USCNo. 2: AlabamaNo. 3: LSUNo. 4: OklahomaNo. 5: OregonNo. 6: GeorgiaNo. 7: Florida StateNo. 8: MichiganNo. 9: South CarolinaNo. 10: Arkansas