Coaches, Pac-12 Polls Make Sense and More USC Football News


Can’t get enough USC football? We’ve got your morning dose of all the best content from around the web concerning the men of Troy.

1st & 10:

First Take… Last week, USC was picked to win the Pac-12 on the same day the coaches poll slotted them No. 10 in the nation behind Oregon at No. 5.

Are these things incompatible? Or are they an accurate representation of where the Trojans stand right now?

Let’s take the coaches poll first.

Despite way-too early nods as a preseason top five team, USC’s place at the edge of the top ten actually makes a lot of sense.

The Trojans were ranked No. 21 in the final coaches poll of last season, but they started out at No. 15 in the preseason of 2014.

Expectations for the men of Troy back then were minimal compared to the championship talk that is being lobbed around these days.

That title talk has built despite the loss of Leonard Williams, Nelson Agholor and Buck Allen, three of USC’s top players from last season, which is why any spot above ten would feel premature.

Meanwhile, any spot lower would fail to reflect seemingly legitimate championship odds for the Trojans this season. After all, returning Cody Kessler, six starting offensive linemen, Su’a Cravens, Adoree’ Jackson and adding talented depth should have Steve Sarkisian’s squad challenging for the conference and by extension the playoff.

Looking at the Pac-12 media poll, USC’s first place standing is simply a reflection of changes at the top of the league and a presumption that the second grouping of circumstances will trump the first.

If Oregon were returning their Heisman-level quarterback they would certainly be the favorites to win. Perhaps the same goes for UCLA. Instead, it is the Trojans who enjoy the greatest situation at quarterback and have enough pieces around him to warrant conference title expectations.

And Ten USC Football Links…

  1. CBS Sports: Tom Fornelli says USC is one of the five most overrated teams in the Coaches Poll, citing the loss of Leonard Williams and company as well as musing that the Trojans may not even be the best team in the South. Of course, UCLA is also an honorable mention for being overrated so it’s hard to imagine where exactly he thinks USC should be ranked in relation to other teams in the division.
  2. LA Times: Why isn’t Sark feeling the love at USC yet? Chris Dufresne explores the skepticism around the no-longer aptly-named “Seven-win Sark.”
  3. Daily News: Cody Kessler is Bakersfield born and breed, as Mark Whicker details in his profile of the Trojan quarterback.
  4. Daily News: There were two notable tidbits from Scott Wolf this weekend. The first is that Bryce Dixon has submitted an appeal to come back to USC. The second is that Sarkisian confirmed the Trojans’ interest in wearing an alternate uniform in 2016, with players particularly keen on an all-white get up.
  5. ESPN: USC is coming for Oregon’s spot atop the Pac-12, says Ted Miller.
  6. ESPN: The Pac-12 says it is serious about officiating now with the hiring of David Coleman. They’ve got a lot to prove, beginning with consistency admits Coleman.
  7. Dan Weber previews the Trojans running backs, including Justin Davis who Cody Kessler calls the “best running back I’ve seen.”
  8. USC Jabari Ruffin checks in at No. 17 on the continuing countdown of key Trojans for 2015, though how he gets back from injury will determine just how key he is.
  9. Reign Of Troy: USC could get an extra edge from new technology this fall, employing the Catapult GPS tracking system to biologically monitor players output during practice. It’s the “Most Used Secret In Sport.”
  10. Reign Of Troy: Here’s our five big takeaways from Pac-12 media days, including alternate uniform talk, expectations and injury updates.

Stat of the Day:

Since the Pac-12 formed in 2011, the predicted winner of the Pac-12 South has yet to win* the division.

*USC won the South in 2011 after being predicted to do so, but could not represent the division in the Pac-12 title game.

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