MINNEAPOLIS - SEPTEMBER 18: Head coach Lane Kiffin of the USC Trojans congratulates quarterback Matt Barkley #7 after a touchdown during the game against the Minnesota Golden Gophers on September 18 2010 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis Minnesota. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
I have said many times that I hate the polls early in the season.
The voter know way too little on the make-up of a team and we have seen in the past some teams tend to get better as the season moves on. We saw it last year with USC...they started out slow as they worked out the kinks but by the second half of the season USC was a totally different team.
That being said, it is a pretty incredible thing that USC is ranked #1 in the AP Poll two years after the NCAA carpet bombed the program.
Southern California is No. 1 in the AP Top 25, tossing off the weight of NCAA sanctions and returning to a familiar place in the rankings — with a boost from LSU's problems.
USC earned the top spot in The Associated Press' preseason college football poll for the seventh time in school history and the first time in five seasons, edging out No. 2 Alabama and No. 3 LSU.
The Trojans received 25 of a possible 60 first-place votes from a media panel in a close vote. USC received 1,445 points. Defending national champion Alabama had 17 first-place votes and 1,411 points while LSU, the Crimson Tide's SEC rival, got 16 first-place votes and 1,402 points.
This ranking is more symbolic than substantive and it puts a ton of pressure on the team to deliver.
A team that is already facing scholarship reductions that is also feeling the injury bug on the defensive line and at the linebacker position.
Still, Lane Kiffin should get a ton of credit for changing the culture of the program in a short 2-plus years while also getting rid of the dead wood that was holding the team back a bit.
I wouldn't say the path is clear but the task is about at hand.
This is USC's best shot for all the marbles, They have a chance to do three things...1) Win an MNC, 2) Have Barkley win the Heisman and 3) stick a big middle finger to the NCAA and all the haters out there. Doing #1 takes care of #3, #2 will be the icing on the cake.
The fun begins two weeks from today!
Small UPDATE here.
It has to keep being repeated because it gets forgotten in the fog of the season – the AP poll doesn’t really matter anymore.
After throwing a hissy fit following the 2003 season, when Oklahoma and LSU played in the BCS Championship Game, even though USC was the AP's No. 1 team, the poll has been nothing more than an exercise. However, it's still an interesting gauge on the pulse of the college football world and remains the most consistent ranking system in the history of college football polls.
The rankings that do matter when it comes to the BCS are the Coaches’ Poll, which came out a few weeks ago, and the ever-mysterious Harris Poll, which releases in October and gets swept under the rug because the AP poll has better brand name recognition.
I throw this up here because we all saw Lane Kiffin expose the sham that is the UASToday Coaches Poll. Coaches don't even watch the games and have flunkies fill out their ballot. That also leaves them open to corruption and cronyism. The AP is susceptible to that as well, but at least we know many of the voters in the AP attempt to watch the games in order to give some credibility to their vote.
I hardly agree with Fiutak but he reinforces that the current system is flawed and needed changing.