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USC Drops From The AP Rankings In Crowded Pac-12 South Standings

The Trojans' could regain their top-25 ranking with back-to-back wins.

Hayes Pullard and company are still learning how to finish.
Hayes Pullard and company are still learning how to finish.
Gene Sweeney Jr.

Another missed opportunity for the USC Trojans, and now the three-loss program sits outside the AP Top 25 rankings in the final week of the poll where it actually matters until the dust settles in late January.

USC Athletic Director Pat Haden and the 13-person College Football Playoff selection committee will have to evaluate everything from strength of schedule to quality of victories (or losses) and how a team is playing at that current moment in the season before Tuesday night's inaugural poll.

In the meantime, we can evaluate the rankings currently at our disposal, which are dominated by SEC programs at the top, sprinkled with Pac-12 powers in the middle and capped off with some up-and-coming programs -- Duke and Marshall. While the UCLA Bruins hold the final No. 25 spot, the current fluctuation of powers in the Pac-12 South will make for a fascinating final 5-6 weeks to the regular season.

Just one game back in the standings (4-2 in the Pac-12), the Trojans have some work to do in their next two games against Washington State and California, two winnable-but-by-no-means-guaranteed games. If that were to take place, USC would actually be right back in the mix for the division crown; crazy but still possible.

But for now, the coaching staff will have to take a real hard look at how things have unfolded late in games and work relentlessly to make adjustments before USC's next game. Check out the whole slew of rankings, which may not mean much come the televised announcement of the playoff poll Tuesday night on ESPN.

Coaches AP Massey
1 Mississippi State Mississippi State Alabama
2 Florida State Florida State Ole Miss
3 Alabama Alabama Mississippi State
4 Auburn Auburn Auburn
5 Michigan State Oregon Florida State
6 Oregon Notre Dame Georgia
7 Notre Dame Ole Miss Oregon
8 Georgia Michigan State LSU
9 Ole Miss Georgia Kansas State
11 Kansas State Kansas State Michigan State
12 Baylor Baylor Oklahoma
13 Ohio State Ohio State Arizona State
14 Arizona State Arizona Baylor
15 Arizona Arizona State Notre Dame
16 Nebraska LSU Clemson
17 LSU Nebraska Nebraska
18 Utah Utah Texas A&M
19 East Carolina Oklahoma West Virginia
20 Oklahoma West Virginia Arizona
21 Clemson East Carolina Ohio State
22 West Virginia Clemson UCLA
23 Marshall Marshall Missouri
24 Duke Duke Utah