USC football just absolutely destroyed Fresno State on Saturday, leading to a final score of 45-17. Typically, when the No. 7-ranked team in the nation beats who is likely one of the better Group of Five programs in the country by 28 points, they move up in the AP Poll. Even if it's just one spot, they at least move up. SC, however, did not jump up the poll at all on Sunday when it was released.
They stayed at No. 7. Nobody in front of them in the poll lost, so they stayed put. While that's not ideal, it had nothing to do with SC's performance. They did their jobs; proving their offense to be one of the best in the nation by scoring 45 points, and proving that their defense is capable of getting the job done against a lesser opponent.
Every team ahead of them is also 3-0, and every team ahead of them was ranked higher in the preseason poll. The Trojans being ranked behind these six teams should therefore come as no surprise. Should it be that way, though?
One can argue that some of these teams ahead of them haven't earned those titles yet, but there are also possibly scenarios where USC is benefitting from being ranked in the top 14 preseason. There are 16 teams in the poll who are 3-0. Not enough is known about college football this year yet to have the perfect ranking.
USC football is likely right to not be inside the top six this week.
USC football will, however, have a chance to enter the top six this week with a win against another 3-0 team in Oregon State. An Oregon State team who received 49 votes this week. For now, though, USC is probably not in the top six for understandable reason. Sure, they're in the top six in points per game (50.7), but they're also not even top 45 in points allowed per game (19.67).
Only two teams in the poll ahead of SC have put up more yards per game than the Trojans (520), but it's also important to remember that all six teams ahead of USC have given up less yards per game than the Trojans. SC's not even close in that metric--placing 82nd in the country with 380.7 yards per game given up.
USC has answered every test so far this season, but until they play somebody nasty, they're not going to move up the rankings just because of wins if nobody ahead of them in the poll loses. That could perhaps change when SC plays their first ranked opponent, but that will not be this week. If USC wins and Clemson gets upset by Wake Forest, though, then maybe SC jumps into that coveted top six.