USC Football was supposed to have it easy against the Arizona Wildcats for their Week 9 PAC-12 meetup with them in Tucson. Unfortunately, though, news broke before the game that they were going to be missing five key players, and three of them being three of their best players.
The three of their best players were WR1 Jordan Addison, LG Andrew Vorhees, and LB Eric Gentry. The other two were still starters in Rush End Korey Foreman and LB Ralen Goforth. Did it stop there? Absolutely not. WR2 Mario Williams ended up not playing due to a surprise injury as well, and then starting LT Bobby Haskins got hurt during the game.
So, while SC's 45-37 win over the now 3-5 Wildcats doesn't look super impressive at first look, it's also important to understand what the Trojans really were going up against: The injury bug. So, a win is more or less a win in this situation. Especially because despite it being such a close game, SC STILL moved up the new AP Top 25 Poll that was released.
They still got the win, and a team ranked higher in them in Oklahoma State did not get a win. Therefore, SC moved up from No. 10 to No. 9. OKST lost 48-0. It really puts USC's performance in perspective. While it was a little too close for comfort, they ended up getting the job done.
Doing it despite relentless injuries also puts it in perspective in terms of how it's not likely that SC will keep it close against teams like Arizona in the future like this. It's not likely that this many players will be out in the future, and/or this quality of players being out in the future.
USC Football is now the second-highest ranked team in the PAC-12.
This 7-1 USC Football team is one of five PAC-12 teams ranked. They are the second-highest ranked team in the conference, just one spot before the No. 1-ranked team in the conference in the Oregon Ducks. UCLA comes up one spot behind SC at No. 10, and Utah slots in at No. 12. Oregon State moves into the poll for the first time this season at No. 24.
That means that USC has a win against a top 25 team on the road, for anyone claiming that SC has only beaten cupcakes all season. They will play a top 10 team of course--UCLA--in three weeks. As for now, they have 3-5 Cal this week and 1-7 Colorado next week.
The first College Football Playoff rankings will be coming out on Tuesday, where the Trojans will see if they can keep their top nine ranking in what truly is the more important ranking as they try to make a push for the College Football Playoff.