USC Football: Trojans ranked fourth in AP Preseason Poll

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 02: Quarterback Sam Darnold (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 02: Quarterback Sam Darnold (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

After capping 2016 off with a wonderful Rose Bowl victory, the USC football Trojans head into 2017 as the fourth-best NCAA team, per the Associated Press.

The future is bright for the USC football Trojans. USC accomplished something they had not done for eight seasons, win the Rose Bowl. Ironically, the Trojans defeated the same team they did in 2008, the Penn State Nittany Lions, to win their 25th Rose Bowl. Now, the Trojans look to carry that success over to this season, starting as the fourth-best team in college football.

The Associated Press released their preseason ranking poll. In the poll, USC trailed only Alabama, Ohio State and Florida State for NCAA supremacy. USC ranked one spot above last year’s National Champions, the Clemson Tigers. Washington (8th) and Stanford (14th) also represented the PAC-12, making USC the only ranked team in the Southern Division.

USC’s first test will indeed be Stanford, as they square off against the 14th ranked team week two on September ninth. Following Stanford, the only other ranked team they will square off against is Texas (23) the following week. Of course, things will change, but weeks two and three will be pivotal to how the USC football season will play out.

More from USC Trojans

USC will be led by quarterback Sam Darnold this season, who gives them the best chance to win the National Championship since 2004. After passing for 3086 yards and 31 touchdowns in just ten games started, Darnold is a front-runner for the Heisman trophy.

With the perfect NFL build, six-foot-four, 220 pounds, the dual-threat quarterback is the early choice for the first overall selection in next year’s draft.

Starting running back Ronald Jones II will also make a huge impact offensively. Last season, the back rushed for 2069 yards on 330 attempts, finding the end zone 20 times on the ground and once via a pass.

Despite getting mauled 52-6 by Alabama last season in week one, the Trojans look as primed as ever to compete with the best programs in college football. After starting 1-3, the USC football Trojans finished the season 9-0 under Darnold’s lead. USC scored fewer than 30 points just twice in that span, outscoring their opponents 359-198.

Next: How will Juju Smith-Schuster do in the NFL?

Overall, weeks two and three will give fans a look at how this season will play out for the USC football program. With a top-four spot in the preseason, USC looks to already be a lock to at least make a top-six bowl game. However, a National Championship may be in the cards in Los Angeles.