Don’t Sweat the Polls and More USC Football News


Mar 3, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans coach Steve Sarkisian (left) and athletic director Pat Haden at spring practice at Cromwell Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

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

1st & 10:

First Take… Chris Petersen scoffed at USC’s ranking in the national polls on Monday. ESPN analyst Kevin Pelton backed him up by pointing out the difference between the Trojans’ computer and human rankings.

When it comes to looking at rankings five weeks into the season, the best opinion to consult is actually USC’s own athletic director.

In his October State of Troy feature, Pat Haden laid it out in simple terms: “It is kind of comical to watch commentators release their Top 4 every week when we know that there is a long way to go here.”

As Haden rightly points out Stanford is a better team than voters gave them credit for after they lost to Northwestern — which is a better team than voters gave Stanford credit for to start with.

When it comes down to it, the disparity between USC’s rating in the polls versus in the computers is more a reflection of the flawed voting process than of underrating of the Trojans or overrating of other teams.

The computers, which are flawed themselves, give more weight to the successes of surprise teams because the data corrects itself. The voters, on the other hand, are very much stuck in the moment.

USC fell more than ten spots for losing to an “unranked” Stanford team. Had voters known where the Cardinal would be now, the Trojans might have been given more benefit of the doubt. Had voters known what ASU would do to UCLA, they might have given USC more of a boost for blowing them out. And so on and so forth.

Ultimately none of this matters because the primary objective for the Trojans remains the same — win.

USC controls its own destiny in nearly every sense. Win every week between now and December and the polls will reflect what the computers think USC is capable of at this moment.

And Ten USC Football News Links…

  1. Reign of Troy: What five things does USC need to do against Washington to avoid the upset? Minimize mistakes, rattle the freshman, get off the field on third down, take advantage of the national stage and don’t let off the gas.
  2. Reign of Troy: The Washington defense lost four starters to the NFL including three first rounders. Yet they remain on of the top defenses in the Pac-12 this season.
  3. Reign of Troy: The RoT staff weighs in on which players they need to see step up for the Trojans against Washington.
  4. Conquest Chronicles: Saman Djabbari breaks down the advanced stats for USC against Washington, noting that the Huskies struggle in obvious passing situations, which is the Trojans’ greatest strength.
  5. LA Times: Chris Hawkins resurgence as a Trojan safety after switching from cornerback can be traced back to his mastery of the defensive scheme.
  6. OC Register: Iman Marshall stays late after practice to work on his technique because he wants to be great. His father taught him how.
  7. ESPN: Steven Mitchell says you haven’t seen anything yet from him. He intends to build on his strong start to the season by continuing to get stronger and assert himself on the field.
  8. Athlon Sports: Josh Webb breaks down the match up between the Trojans and Huskies.
  9. Sarkisian’s emphasis before the ASU game was forcing turnovers. This week the focus is on “sharpening the sword.”
  10. Reign of Troy: Troy Polamalu is among this year’s inductees for the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame, along with Charles Teetai Ane Jr., who played for the Trojans in the 1950s.

RoT Daily:

Is ESPN's "Trojan War" 30 for 30 documentary worth watching? Find out in today's RoT Daily: A day's worth of #USC football news in 90 seconds.

Posted by Reign of Troy on Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Stat of the Day:

JuJu Smith-Schuster has ten receptions with at least ten yards after the catch. That’s tied for most among Power 5 receivers. (H/T Kevin Gemmell)

Tweets of the Day:

"This Thursday game allows us to have a weekend"

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