There is little doubt in the city of Los Angeles that the 2012 college football season is going to be an exciting one.
For the USC Trojans, Matt Barkley and Robert Woods will headline a team with their eyes set on a national championship. The UCLA Bruins may not quite be at that level yet, but head coach Jim Mora has the program heading in the right direction and they have a strong incoming class of freshmen coming in.
The first round of power rankings for the Pac-12 were recently released by one publication. Where did the Trojans and Bruins come in? We'll take a look at them after the jump.
The Trojans are first in the rankings to the surprise of no one. Here is what National Football Post had to say about USC.
Starter for starter, the Trojans can line up with perhaps any team in the nation. The question will be whether their depth will be tested, specifically in the backfield and across the lines, as they deal with having a smaller roster of scholarship players. This is a team that was playing better football than any other with the exception of LSU and Alabama when the 2011 regular season came to an end. Quarterback Matt Barkley is poised for a Heisman Trophy run, and this squad is poised for a BCS title push if Monte Kiffin's defense makes another jump in its third year.
The Bruins came in at No. 6 on the list, which is pretty solid given everything that has happened to the program in the last 12 months or so.
Ranking the Bruins this high may raise some eyebrows, but I've been very impressed with the way new head coach Jim L. Mora has come into Westwood and organized a committed staff that communicates well with one another. Mora and Co. were able to bring in a strong Class of 2012 when their backs were against the wall following a delayed hire, and now the question is whether that off-the-field success can carry over to Saturday afternoons. Quarterback play remains the biggest issue, and I've been adamant that Brett Hundley should get the keys to this offense. End Datone Jones must lead a defensive revival as well.
It should be a great season for college football in the Pac-12, and both schools from the Los Angeles area have a chance to make some real national news. Summer practices and workouts are just a few months away.
For more on the Trojans, be sure to check out Conquest Chronicles. For more on the UCLA, head over to Bruins Nation.