Cameron Smith is No. 16 in Sports Illustrated’s Top 100 Players of 2018, while new preseason rankings are out. Here’s the USC football roundup for June 20.
The offseason praise for Cameron Smith continued on Wednesday as Sports Illustrated named the USC football’s star linebacker the No. 16 player in college football this year.
Smith joined running back Stephen Carr and cornerback Iman Marshall on the list at No. 53 and No. 49 respectively.
Widely considered one of the best linebackers in the Pac-12 and a potential All-American candidate, Smith’s presence near the Top 15 is a no-brainer. However, there is offense to be taken with the list.
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For one, it’s unlikely any other Trojans would rate ahead of Smith, so it’s now clear that Marvell Tell and Porter Gustin have been snubbed. Though Carr certainly has the potential and Marshall has proven himself as a three-year starter, both Tell and Gustin could arguably rank ahead of those two in a listing of just Trojan players.
Gustin in particular seems to have been forgotten after injury took him out of USC’s lineup for most of the 2017 season.
Remember, Gustin had more tackles for loss in 2016 than Rasheem Green or Uchenna Nwosu had in 2017. Like Nwosu, he look poised for a breakout year. While Nwosu got the chance to follow through, Gustin didn’t.
If he’s able to pick up where he left off, many more people will be talking about Gustin once the season gets going.
Preseason ranking roundup
A couple new preseason rankings hit the wire on Wednesday, with vaguely similar but still different-enough conclusions on the Trojans.
Athlon Sports rated all 130 teams in college football, settling USC at No. 21. That’s one spot behind September opponent Texas and also trailing No. 18 Stanford, No. 15 Notre Dame and No. 8 Washington.
247Sports also released a ranking of their Top 25 with USC slotted in at No. 16.
Tell, Smith and Lobendahn get a shout out as the Trojans stars while JT Daniels comes in as the X-Factor.
World Cup-style college football
Nick Bromberg of Yahoo! Sports took the backdrop of the World Cup and turned it into offseason content by proposing a World Cup-style tournament in the world of college football.
As the champion of the Pac-12, USC was included in Pot 1 (think of it like a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament). That put the Trojans in a hypothetical Group H with Penn State, Troy and Virginia Tech.
That’s better than the “Group of Death” Stanford ended up in facing Auburn, Memphis and Mississippi State or Washington State’s Group F with Georgia, TCU and NC State.
The plan is to actually simulate the matchups in EA Sports NCAA Football 14 using 2017 rosters, so it will be interesting to see how far the Trojans get.
Today’s Trojan Trivia
USC’s record in World Cup years is 159-67-8. There have only been 20 World Cup seasons and USC has won the conference in seven of them. The Trojans are also a perfect 7-7 in the Rose Bowl Game following those tournament years.