With the late start to the season, USC football will have to prove worthy of an AP Top 25 ranking.
The AP Top 25 transformed this week as voters acknowledged Big Ten and Pac-12 teams.
USC football may be playing ball this November, but they still don’t feature in the rankings.
Realistically, the Trojans aren’t likely to make their move into the Top 25 until they earn it, starting with a Week 1 victory.
USC football sits just outside the AP Top 25.
USC did get 104 points in the voting, trailing Virginia Tech, Louisiana-Lafayette and Minnesota among the teams that just missed out.
Since the Pac-12 will only play seven games in 2020, any College Football Playoff hopes for the Trojans will be tied to the strength of their conference opponents. For now, there is a lot of work to do for the conference.
Oregon made its way to No. 14 as the highest-ranked program in the west. They are the only team in the Pac-12 who made the cut.
Utah and Washington are on the fringes of some voters’ minds, tallying 14 and four points respectively.
The Pac-12 may have a tough time impressing voters unless Oregon and Washington run away with the North and USC and Utah run away with the South. Don’t bet on that happening though. Cal and ASU look like teams who will have a lot to say in 2020.
Whatever happens with the conference, it’s up to USC to create a conversation in the first place. The Trojans have lost their best linemen in Alijah Vera-Tucker and Jay Tufele, but their losses have been less than Oregon’s. The Ducks have had four key starters declare for the NFL Draft.
With a quarterback like Kedon Slovis and hope surrounding a new defensive coaching staff, USC will have few excuses for not taking advantage of a huge opportunity in 2020.