USC Football is now 9-1 for the first time since 2008, with their dominant 55-17 win over the Colorado Buffaloes. 2008 was back in the Pete Carroll era. It was the final year of Carroll's seven-year streak of finishing the season with a top four ranking. Speaking of a top four ranking, that's what SC is chasing right now.
And with Lincoln Riley leading SC to a 9-1 record, it's most certainly possible for them to be ranked inside the top four when the final CFP rankings are released. Even before their 38-point win last week, they were ranked as the No. 8 team in the country by the CFP rankings. It goes to show that the CFP committee has taken notice of the Trojans.
It's hard not to. SC's only loss on the season was a one-point loss to a team who was ranked in the top 13 by the CFP rankings last week, even before they routed Stanford by 35 points. Again, the CFP is clearly familiar with how strong of a team they were.
Not to mention, USC would not have lost to them had it not been by egregious roughing the passer penalties throughout the game that the conference even admitted were incorrect calls. (They didn't even need to admit it with how obviously awful calls they were.) Here's what USC will need to do to match what the 2008 team did: Beat three ranked teams in the regular season.
Lincoln Riley's USC Football squad has not beaten any ranked teams yet, unlike Pete Carroll's 2008 Trojan team.
Lincoln Riley and USC Football could end up matching Pete Carroll's 2008 win total against ranked teams this year, though. That's because Riley will be playing a ranked matchup this week against UCLA, and what will likely be a ranked matchup next week against Notre Dame (assuming Notre Dame beats 3-7 Boston College).
That's just two ranked wins, but if they beat UCLA, they'll be in the PAC-12 Championship. They'll then almost certainmly play a ranked team then. If they win that contest, perhaps they end up with a top four seed during those final Playoff rankings. Carroll finished the year as the No. 3 team in 2008. They did that despite losing to unranked Oregon State.
It puts this year in great perspective. Clearly, this team has the potential to have a similar season, because through 10 games they've put themselves in position to go on that type of run. They'll be favored this week, and if they win, they'll most certainly be favored next week. If that's the case, they'll be the only 11-1 team in this conference, and likely favored in the PAC-12 Championship game.
Look--A LOT has to happen to have the type of season the '08 Trojans did. But to see Riley match their record through each team's first 10(!) games of the year says a lot. He's already met expectations for his first year as a head coach, and is even putting together a similar campaign to one of Carroll's better teams.