The USC Trojans are going to enter the 2012 season with very high expectations. They return one of the best quarterbacks in the nation with Matt Barkley, will feature one of the most electric playmakers in the game with Robert Woods, and should benefit from a much-improved defense. There are still areas of the team to be addressed in summer camp, but this looks like a great team on paper.
ESPN just released their final preseason rankings before the student-athletes return home for a couple of weeks. USC was once ranked No. 1 overall on this list, but they recently dropped a spot.
You can find ESPN's complete top-25 list here. They moved the LSU Tigers up to the top spot on the list, dropping the Trojans to 2nd. Here is what they had to say about the team:
With 19 starters coming back from a 10-2 team in 2011, including star quarterback Matt Barkley, USC seems armed to return to national prominence. But the Trojans' schedule seems much more difficult than LSU's this coming season. The Trojans play Pac-12 road games at Stanford on Sept. 15 and at Washington on Oct. 13, along with a Nov. 3 home game against Oregon and Nov. 24 home finale against Notre Dame. Still, if the Trojans can solidify their defensive line they'll be right in the mix for a BCS national championship. Opponents will have a difficult time slowing down Barkley and receivers Marqise Lee and Robert Woods.
Regardless of these silly pre-season rankings, you can bet it's going to be a fun season in the Coliseum. The start of the college football year is just a few short months away.
For more on the USC Trojans and their football program, be sure to check out Conquest Chronicles.