USC football's Preseason AP Poll ranking isn't too high or too low

Brenden Rice, USC Football, USC Trojans
Brenden Rice, USC Football, USC Trojans / Jayne Kamin-Oncea/GettyImages

USC football came in at No. 14 in the Preseason AP Top 25 Poll this year. It was announced Monday morning, and it's a very accurate ranking and representation of where SC is at. This team was 4-8 last year, but will be much improved. Are they a top 15 team? It appears so.

Some will object, however, as there were many analysts who placed USC as high up as in the top four of their mock preseason polls all offseason. However, the reality is that while USC has overhauled their roster with five four-star transfers and two five-star transfers to build the best roster in their conference, all those new faces are going to have to learn how to play with each other.

To make even less continuity within the program, only one coach on the previous coaching staff (interim HC Donte Williams), is still with the Trojans (Defensive Backs Coach/Defensive Passing Game Coordinator).

While adding a top five head coach in America--Lincoln Riley--was huge and will have FANTASTIC long-term returns, there are always growing pains within college football programs who hire new coaches. There are A LOT of cultural issues that the previous administrations and coaching staffs placed within this program, and that's not going to be easy for Riley to fix.

USC football will have a good season this year.

USC football, however, will likely not have a great season where they prove that they're back in just Year 1 of the Riley era. There are still too many questions surrounding the defense. The defense was one of the worst in USC history last year. One year with a new defensive coordinator who's also coming off of a disappointing year in Alex Grinch is likely not going to be enough to fix this.

Will Shane Lee stay healthy and return to his freshman form after a couple of years buried in the Alabama depth chart? Will Raesjon Davis or Ralen Goforth break out to help complete the linebacking core? Will Korey Foreman play to his potential? Will Nick Figueroa stay healthy? Will Brandon Pili stay healthy and play to the best of his abilities? There are so many questions about this front seven.

Next. Power ranking every Pete Carroll team. dark

This team is perfectly ranked. They're going to be good. They're going to be much improved. Are they going to put together a USC-level team in just the first year with a new coach? Probably not. Heck, even Pete Carroll only went 6-6 in his first year with the Trojans. This team will be much better than that, but not elite just yet. That will come in Year 3 at the latest.