USC Football had a bye week this week, but ended up jumping up and into the Top 10 of the AP Top 25 Poll despite not playing a game. They had Week 8 off, but still ended up moving on up to be tied with Wake Forest for No. 10 in the AP Poll. So, Week 7's loss is now even less catastrophic than it even was.
It was a one-point loss on the road to a top 20 program, in a notoriously brutal place to play, on an emotional night where the squad was honoring two players who were tragically killed last season. And it took embarrassingly bad officiating against USC to win the game by a point. Read more about that officiating, and the public's reaction here.
The poll voters certainly took note of the officiating, ranking SC three spots ahead of the Utes at No. 12 after the loss. Now, USC's lead over Utah is even greater with them at 10 and the Utes at 14. Clearly, SC is still in the race for wherever they want to place when the College Football Playoff committee makes their final decision.
The best part is that Lincoln Riley wasn't even expected to make the College Football Playoff in just his first season with the Trojans. He was supposed to be a team that would win about nine games and be ranked in the late teens.
Of course, Riley has instead built up a top 10 team in just his first season with his new team, and on pace for an 11-2 season. That's the same exact season he had at Oklahoma last year. He has quite literally not lost a step, despite inheriting a 4-8 team from 2021.
USC Football is ranked higher than anyone on their remaining schedule.
One of USC Football's remaining opponents is ranked in the UCLA Bruins, but they are ranked behind them at No. 12. That game will be on the road, though, so it will be no easy task. That being said, the Rose Bowl isn't the biggest home-field advantage, especially nowadays. If they can win in Pasadena, their ranking is going to skyrocket.
That of course is more so the case if USC makes sure they win these next three games, however. Then, they should be able to move up a couple of spots before the UCLA game. Arizona, Cal, and Colorado are the next three opponents. Top 10 teams really shouldn't have any trouble against those types of programs.