USC Football Ranked No. 20 In Preseason AP Poll

USC head coach Clay Helton during practice at Howard Jones Field. (Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy)
USC head coach Clay Helton during practice at Howard Jones Field. (Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy) /

USC football begins the 2016 season ranked No. 20 in the preseason AP poll, with six opponents on the schedule also making the rankings.

In case there were still doubters about just how tough USC football’s schedule for 2016 lines up, the release of the AP poll should settle them.

The Trojans checked in at No. 20, below their No. 17 mark in the coaches poll, but still in line with widespread projections for the team.

SEE ALSO: USC Ranked No. 17 In Preseason Coaches Poll

A look at the poll as a whole though, reveals an undeniably difficult slate, beginning with No. 1-ranked Alabama in the season opener.

USC has beaten a team ranked No. 1 in the AP poll seven times over the course of its history, a total second only to Notre Dame’s eight victories. The last time a Trojan team bested the nation’s best was in 1984, a 16-7 win over Washington which lifted USC to a conference title and into the Rose Bowl.

With Stanford ranked No. 8 and Notre Dame at No. 10, three of USC’s 12 opponents begin the season among the Top 10 teams in the country.

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USC will travel to Stanford in Week 3 while Notre Dame will be in Los Angeles to finish out the season.

In the next tier, Washington rates No. 14 while UCLA picked up a No. 16 ranking, giving the Trojans five opponents in the Top 16. Those two away games are back-to-back in the middle of November.

In the final tier, Oregon sneaked into the poll at No. 24, capping the Pac-12’s total number of ranked teams at five.

The Ducks’ ranking means the Trojans’ November slate is an All-AP affair. Each of the four teams USC faces are ranked.

Also receiving votes, Utah and Washington State missed out on a ranking at No. 28 and 29.