The USC Trojans earned the top ranking in the AP Top 25 Preseason poll, benefitting from LSU's loss of Tyrann Mathieu. This is the seventh time the school has been ranked No. 1 in the AP Preseason poll, but the first time in five years.
The 2012 BCS Champion Alabama Crimson Tide came in at No. 2, with the BCS runners-up LSU Tigers at No. 3.
USC recieved 25 first place votes, eight more than second-place Alabama. The No. 1 ranking is an improvement from the Trojans' standing in the 2012 Coaches' poll, where they were ranked No. 3, as well as SB Nation's Blogpoll, where they received the No. 2 slot. (An updated, post-Mathieu Blogpoll is due out soon.)
The ranking is a significant accomplishment for a team just two years afer being hit with NCAA Sanctions, something noted by coach Lane Kiffin in comments to the AP:
"To be handed down what they said could be a death penalty, could take USC 10 years to come back from, then to have this recognition and be preseason No. 1 is very exciting for our fans because a lot people thought two years ago that this would not be possible for USC."
Others Receiving Votes: Notre Dame 83, Washington 55, Auburn 53, North Carolina 32, Utah 30, Georgia Tech 25, BYU 22, Tennessee 15, South Florida 11, Baylor 9, Texas A&M 5, UCF 4, Cincinnati 3, Missouri 3, N.C. State 3, Houston 1, Louisiana Tech 1, Mississippi St. 1, N. Illinois 1.