Five AP ranked teams lost in a busy weekend of college football, creating some major movement outside the top-ten ranks. Three Pac-12 powerhouses now sit within the top-11 ranks, while Washington (31-28 loss) faltered late in an upset-bid on the road at Stanford and once again, USC did not receive a vote in the AP Poll.
|Others Receiving Votes: Auburn 61, Notre Dame 50, Nebraska 35, Wisconsin 29, Michigan State 16, UCF 7, Arizona State 3, Mississippi 3, Rutgers 2|
USC's most recent opponent Arizona State, who defeated the Trojans by 21 points in Tempe last weekend, dropped out of the rankings after coming out of the gates slow against Notre Dame. For the Irish, the three-point victory at Jerry's World earned 50 votes in the Top 25 Ranks, with the Trojans looming for an October 19th tilt in South Bend.
The Trojans (3-2,0-2) must now set their sights on taking down Arizona in a must-win game not only for bowl-game situations but also for the overriding confidence and direction of this football program. Coming off what players were calling, "the most fun week of practice," Game Week preparations are officially under way before Thursday night.
While it may seem like a distinct long shot, the Trojans final eight games of the season could actually salvage what has certainly been the worst-case scenario start to the season in conference play. With statement games against Arizona, Oregon State (Road), Stanford and UCLA in the horizon, the Trojans are presented with plenty of opportunities to boost their stock back in the national conversation.
Just throwing it out there, but if USC were to rally off five straight victories improving their mark to 8-2 heading into their home tilt with Stanford, the Trojans could seriously garner some praise for Top 25 rankings for the first time since holding that spot during the second week of the season. Times are changing for the spirited football program, making now the perfect time to utilize a clean slate and begin judging the ultimate future from this point forward.
While the home-opening loss to the now four-win Washington State Cougars remains inexcusable, the Trojans next two games against Arizona and rival-Notre Dame could serve as just the perfect anecdote to a slow-starting season. Looking to spark life back into a once top-ten defense, the Trojans coaching regime has taken on the Pete Carroll-like demeanor at practice with a much-more relaxed feeling at Howard Jones Field.
Time to gear up for the final days of preparation before witnessing what many hope to be a reinvigorated and much-more focused team playing under interim coach Ed Orgeron. While the season is never over, the Trojans will need to collect their first Pac-12 win this week or else things could really spin out of control in the 2013 season.