USC Football ranks No. 5 in the Sports Illustrated preseason Top 25, outside of the four playoff places but still in contention for the title.
The Sports Illustrated preseason Top 25 ranking was released on Wednesday, with USC Football sitting on the outside looking in when it comes to the coveted four College Football Playoff spots.
The Trojans settled in at No. 5, behind No. 4 Oklahoma State, No. 3 Ohio State, No. 2 Florida State and No. 1 Alabama.
With USC boasting six players in SI’s Top 100 players in college football, compared with just two from Oklahoma State, the Cowboys higher rank may seem perplexing.
However, the Trojans will have to contend with a more difficult schedule as they seek a Top 4 ranking without a bye during the regular season. In addition to difficult match ups against Stanford and Texas, USC will travel to play Washington State, Notre Dame and Colorado in potentially troublesome conditions.
Meanwhile, Oklahoma State’s only out-of-conference test will come from Pitt before they battle Oklahoma for the Big 12 title. The Cowboys should have an easier time keeping their losses to a minimum.
USC’s most likely contender for the Pac-12 title, Washington, ranks No. 9 in SI’s estimation.
Northern rival Stanford checks in at No. 15, presenting USC with a tough early test at the Coliseum in Week 2.
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The Trojans potential trap game in late September looks even more intriguing with Washington State getting some love at No. 22.
Out-of-conference foe Texas sits 23rd in the ranking as well.
USC was voted No. 4 in the preseason Amway Coaches Poll last week, so national perception clearly views the Trojans as a contender for a playoff spot in 2017.
With Sam Darnold and Ronald Jones II leading the way on offense, and Cameron Smith and Iman Marshall guiding the defense, USC has the right pieces to succeed this season.
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Sorting out questions on the offensive and defensive lines will go a long way towards convincing voters to spot the Trojans even higher.