USC Football 2017 preseason Top 25 rankings round up

Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images
Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images /

USC Football’s hype for the 2017 season hasn’t slowed down, with the Trojans ranking in the playoff places in most preseason Top 25 rankings.

With conference media days approaching and preview magazines on newsstands, the college football preseason is finally here.

As always, publications in both print and online have begun releasing their preseason Top 25 rankings, doing their best to predict the top teams in the country.

Here’s a look at where USC stands in the latest swath of preseason rankings:

Sporting News — No. 2

The highest ranking for USC anywhere this preseason comes via the Sporting News, which ranks the Trojans at No. 2 in the country.

"We’re sticking with the Trojans at No. 2. Sam Darnold still is the Heisman favorite and potential No. 1 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, but injuries along an offensive line that already replaces three starters makes us a little nervous. The focus for USC is to get healthy before fall camp."

The only team that outranks USC in Sporting News’ estimation is Alabama, while Ohio State and Florida State round out the playoff places.

MORE: 5 Reasons USC Will Make the Playoff in 2017

Washington settles in at No. 8, the clear Pac-12 runner up. Ten spots behind them, Stanford makes an appearance at No. 18. Early USC opponents Texas and Washington State rank No. 21 and No. 23 respectively.

Phil Steele — No. 4

Phil Steele’s annual preseason preview magazine agrees with Sporting News’ Top 4, just not the same order.

USC lands at No. 4 with Alabama, Ohio State and Florida State ranked ahead of the Trojans.

Washington’s place at No. 7 suggests the men of Troy will prevail in winning the Pac-12 title over the Huskies, as far as Steele sees it.

SEE ALSO: 5 Lingering Questions From Spring Camp

Meanwhile, Stanford checks in slightly higher than most other publications at 14th. Steele thinks Tom Herman will work his magic at Texas at No. 21

Somewhat surprisingly, Steele also expects a major bounce back from both Notre Dame and Oregon after their disappointing 2016 seasons. The Irish rank No. 19 while Oregon slips into the ranking at No. 23. Another bounce back expectation? UCLA at No. 29.

College Spun — No. 4

College Spun’s ranking follows a similar formula to other preseason Top 25s. USC ranks No. 4 in their estimation, behind the trio of usual suspects — Alabama, Ohio State and Florida State.

"USC finished last year hot and enters 2017 as a national title contender. The main reason for this is quarterback Sam Darnold…The Pac-12 is loaded, and the Trojans are tested right away with a game against Stanford on Sept. 9."

Washington again takes the No. 8 spot while David Shaw gets some love with Stanford at No. 12. Then it’s a long drop to No. 21 Texas and No. 22 Notre Dame to see another Trojan opponent.

Athlon Sports — No. 5

While there are more preseason Top 25s on the horizon, Athlon is the only one so far to put USC on the outside looking in when it comes to playoff positions.

"Thanks to the emergence of quarterback Sam Darnold, USC should be a playoff contender in 2017…Darnold is good enough to carry this team to a Pac-12 title on his own, but the supporting cast features a likely All-Pac-12 running back in Ronald Jones, as well as a solid group of receivers… [The defense] features an All-America candidate at linebacker in junior Cameron Smith, along with rising stars Rasheem Green (DL) and Iman Marshall (CB)."

Athlon’s playoff places are filled by No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Ohio State, No. 3 Florida State and No. 4 Washington, the Pac-12 champion pick over the Trojans.

SEE ALSO: Athlon Projects USC in the Fiesta Bowl

Texas shows up particularly early at No. 13. Stanford, on the other hand, hovers around their average at No. 17.

Athlon also expects Notre Dame to turn things around, ranking the Irish 20th, one spot ahead of Oregon.

Since the moment the game-winning kick at the Rose Bowl left the foot of kicker Matt Boermeester, USC’s hype for the 2017 season hasn’t let up.

More from Reign of Troy

Not everyone agrees that the Trojans will make the College Football Playoff, but just about every publication going back to January agrees that USC will be in the mix. The variation appears to link back to who voters favor in the Pac-12 title race — USC or Washington.

Darnold is often referenced as the difference maker for the Trojans, but if they succeed at living up to expectations it’ll take more than just the quarterback living up to his side of the bargain. Concerns about USC’s offensive line and necessary replacements on defense have given some voters pause, but the Trojans have recruited well enough to overcome those worries.

CHECK OUT: 5 Most Irreplaceable Trojans in 2017

An albeit new-look offensive line is likely to be upperclassmen heavy. There are holes to fill on defense, but analysts rightly point to the star power of Cameron Smith, Iman Marshall, Porter Gustin and Uchenna Nwosu as strong enough band-aids.

All-in-all, the coming season promises excitement in the land of Troy.