There's a historic dearth of Los Angeles teams in the 2010 college football polls. The Bruins appear to have hit an impasse, for the moment, and are on a bye anyway, but can the Trojans gain a foothold and scramble out of the "also receiving votes" cellar this week?
Maybe. And they'd better make use of their slim chance.
This isn't to say USC will faceplant when Cal comes to the Coliseum, but the Bears represent both an unknown quantity and the Trojans' best chance for rankings success. Should fans be nervous, though? It's difficult to say. Cal hasn't played much in the way of quality competition this year, and when they have, the results have been bizarre (see the 10-9 loss to Arizona). A victory here is absolutely crucial: three of the four games following come against Pac-10 teams currently ranked in the Top 25.
There's no bowl to shoot for this year, of course, and no BCS standings to worry over, but the next couple recruiting classes are going to be more important to USC than ever thanks to their reducing roster, and showing this team can still compete after offseason adversity will go a long way towards shoring up cred with prospects.