USC Football debuted in the first College Football Playoff Top 25 rankings at No. 9 in the country. That's of course the same ranking they scored in the AP Top 25 Poll this week. They likely shouldn't be any higher.
It's safe to say most expected SC to be either ninth or tenth, and with a 6-2 LSU team that has a blowout loss to LSU and a loss to Florida State in the No. 10 slot, the Trojans were bound to be No. 9. There is only one PAC-12 team ahead of the Trojans, which is Oregon just one slot above USC at No. 8.
The top four (in order) is Tennessee, Ohio State, Georgia, and Clemson. Of course, one of those teams will HAVE to lose at some point in this season, as Tennessee and Georgia play each other this year. Interestingly, they actually play each other this week.
Perhaps it's an opportunity for USC to move up, and they're going to want to move up as soon as possible so that they aren't chasing after too many hurdles towards the end of the season. Their next best bet to move up this week would be LSU upsetting Alabama. Of course, however, USC has to make sure they secure their own W to move up, regardless of what happens.
USC Football plays Cal this weekend.
USC Football won't have the chance to get a major resume-building win until Week 12 at UCLA, but will get the chance to make sure they're in position to have just one loss coming into that crosstown showdown against the Bruins. That will come in this week's game against Cal, and next week's Friday night showdown against Colorado.
Both teams are very bad, as the Golden Bears are 3-5 and Colorado is 1-7. So, neither of these games are likely to tell the committee a ton about this team. They will, however, pad SC's record, which is of course important. SC doesn't play FCS teams, and they have three ranked opponents on their schedule (they've already played two of them).
They could use a couple more games here to pad that record before they play the UCLA game and face off against a fellow blue blood in Week 13 against Notre Dame. The 7-1 Trojans are rolling, and absolutely have a chance at the College Football Playoff.
No one-loss Power 5 conference champion has ever missed the Playoff, except the 2018 Ohio State Buckeyes whose loss was by 29 points to an unranked Purdue team that went 6-7. That's a MUCH different scenario than if SC enters the final ranking show as the PAC-12 Champion with just one loss to the (currently) No. 14 Utah team in RIce-Eccles.