USC will enter Saturday’s rivalry game with UCLA as a ranked team. The Trojans were ranked No. 23 in the College Football Playoff polls for the first time this season.
The selection committee are the only ones who have the Trojans ranked in their polls. They received 6 votes in the AP Top 25 polls and 3 votes in the Coaches Poll, but neither had USC ranked. When you consider that, the ranking is unexpected. However, you won’t see the Trojans complaining about it at all.
There could be numerous reasons why the committee view USC differently than everyone else. The Trojans have a win over a ranked team in Utah while suffering a narrow loss to No. 16 Notre Dame and a blowout defeat by Oregon, who’s currently in the mist of the CFP race.
USC’s ranking in the CFP Top 25 could potentially turnout to be a positive for the Pac-12 conference. Why you ask? Both Utah and Oregon are in a position to make the College Football Playoff. The Ducks sit at No. 6 behind No. 5 Alabama while the Utes are in striking distance at No. 7. USC handed Utah their lone loss of the season back in September while Oregon dismantled the Trojans inside the Coliseum three weeks ago. Should both teams face each other in the Pac-12 championship game with one loss, the winner could jump into the College Football Playoff with USC being a factor.
USC currently has slim hope in the Pac-12 South. They’re a Utah loss away from playing for a Pac-12 Championship, however the Utes will be heavy favored against both Arizona and Colorado. The Trojans first must take care of business at the Coliseum when they face rival UCLA. A victory over the Bruins will keep them in the CFP Top 25 which is an upgrade compared to last season.
This is the third time the Trojans have been ranked this season, however they’re currently 0-2 when ranked. USC was No. 24 in the AP Polls after defeating a then ranked Stanford team only to be upset by BYU in Provo the following week. The made another appearance after defeating No. 7 Utah at home, but were defeated by a then ranked Washington Huskies team in Seattle.