LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 26: Quarterback Matt Barkley #7 of the USC Trojans conducts the band after the game with the UCLA Bruins at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 26, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. USC won 50-0. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

2012 College Football Rankings: USC Trojans Expected To Begin Season Near Top Of Polls

USC has finished ranked No. 6 or higher by the Associated Press eight times in the last 10 years.

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College Football Preseason Rankings: USC Trojans No. 1 In BlogPoll

When quarterback Matt Barkley decided to return to the USC Trojans for his senior season, he cited "unfinished business" that the team still had to take care of. After two years of bowl ineligibility, one could imagine a Rose Bowl berth was on Barkley's mind. Or perhaps a higher goal is in order, as many preseason polls might suggest.

USC is ranked No. 1 in the 2012 preseason BlogPoll by SB Nation college football writers. The Trojans received seven first-place votes compared to nine for the No. 2 LSU Tigers, but USC was able to gain in other areas. "In a poll that has a significant bit of volatility thanks to a smallish voter base, the Trojans receive fewer first-place votes than No. 2 LSU and still outpoint the Tigers by .36 points per ballot," wrote Andy Hutchins. "That's a much smaller difference than the gap between LSU and Alabama, which falls from the overwhelming No. 1 in the final 2011 BlogPoll to a distant No. 3."

Here are the SB Nation BlogPoll top 10:

  1. USC (seven first place votes)
  2. LSU (nine first place votes)
  3. Alabama (three first place votes)
  4. Oregon
  5. Oklahoma
  6. Arkansas
  7. Georgia (one first place vote)
  8. Michigan
  9. Florida State
  10. South Carolina

The November 3 matchup between the Trojans and the No. 4 Oregon Ducks in Los Angeles might just be the most anticipated college football game of the season, at least in the Pac-12 Conference if not the country.

For more USC football news and information, be sure to read Conquest Chronicles.

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College Football Power Rankings 2012: USC Trojans Ranked No. 2 By Sports Illustrated

When quarterback Matt Barkley made his choice to return for his senior season, the stakes were raised for the USC Trojans. Barkley is back to lead a dynamic offense with wide receivers Robert Woods and Marqise Lee, arguably the best duo of receivers ever at the school. Heading into 2012, Andy Staples of Sports Illustrated ranked the Trojans second in his "way too early" top 25.

"The Trojans have the nation's best returning receiver duo in Robert Woods and Marqise Lee, and the defense brings back rising stars such as linebacker Hayes Pullard and cornerback Nickell Robey," Staples wrote of USC.

The LSU Tigers are ranked No. 1 by Staples, but what is interesting is that the Oregon Ducks are No. 3. Oregon will be the favorite in the Pac-12 North Division, with the Trojans the class of the Pac-12 South Division. Oregon will come to Los Angeles on November 3 to battle USC in what could possibly be a battle of No. 1 vs. No. 2. The two will likely be expected to meet again on November 30 in the Pac-12 Championship Game, at the home site of the team with the best conference record, which could be the winner of that November 3 matchup.

For more USC football news and information, be sure to read Conquest Chronicles.

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College Football Rankings: USC Trojans Drop One Spot To No. 6 In Final AP Poll

USC has finished ranked No. 6 or higher by the Associated Press eight times in the last 10 years.

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