8 Reasons Why USC, Not LSU, Should Be Ranked Preseason No. 1

Alex Callos@@alexcallosCorrespondent IJune 23, 2012

8 Reasons Why USC, Not LSU, Should Be Ranked Preseason No. 1

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    When the official preseason college football polls come out, it is almost a certainty that USC and LSU will be the top two ranked teams in the country with USC holding the No. 1 spot.

    While the Tigers can certainly make a case to be ranked No. 1, there are multiple reasons why USC should and will be ranked higher.

    This may not be what SEC fans want to hear, but there is little doubt that USC is the top college football team in all of the land heading into the 2012 season.

    Here are eight reasons why.

USC Has the Best Quarterback in the Nation

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    There is no question that USC has the best quarterback in college football in Matt Barkley.

    He is almost a certainty to be the first selection in the 2013 NFL draft and is entering his fourth season as the Trojans starter.

    Barkley is also one of the leading candidates for the Heisman Trophy. He not only brings senior leadership to the USC offense, but he is also as talented as any player in the country.

Quarterback Questions for the Tigers

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    LSU has been successful without having the most talented quarterback in the country and this season will be no different.

    Georgia transfer Zach Mettenberger looks like the man for the job, but he does not have a lot of experience and may not even be as talented as average LSU quarterbacks from the past.

    The Tigers may have more talent than anybody outside of the quarterback position, but everybody knows how important that position is and question marks abound for the Tigers.

An Unstoppable Wide Receiver Duo

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    USC has two of the best receivers in the country and possibly the best duo in the nation.

    Robert Woods and Marqise Lee had huge seasons in 2011 and could be even better in 2012. 

    Last year Woods caught 111 passes for 1,292 yards and 15 touchdowns as a sophomore.

    Lee reeled in 73 balls for 1,143 yards and 11 touchdowns as a freshman. These two are young, talented and dynamic. LSU has nowhere close to this firepower at the skill positions.

Stability at Running Back

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    While some may say a stable of running backs is a great thing, there is nothing wrong with having one stud to hand the ball to.

    USC has just that in Curtis McNeal. The tiny back rushed for 1,005 yards last season on only 145 carries with six touchdowns.

    LSU does have some great running backs, but nobody who stands out in the pack. That can sometimes be a positive, but the Tigers will likely be splitting carries between four different running backs.

    Last season they had five players with more than 60 carries and that is not necessarily a good thing.

USC Is Much Hungrier

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    USC is coming off probation in which they were not able to play in bowl games or for the conference crown.

    A few of their studs, including Barkley, decided to come back for their senior seasons so they could have the opportunity to play in a bowl game.

    There is no question that they want it more than anybody else and are going to do whatever it takes to play for the BCS National Championship.

    Look out, because the Trojans are hungry.

Experience for USC at Key Positions

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    While both teams have relatively the same experience, USC has much more experience at the key positions and it all starts with quarterback.

    The Trojans have eight senior starters listed on their depth chart but have them at key positions, such as running back, center, both defensive ends and three starters in the secondary.

    LSU, on the other hand, only has only six senior starters and has limited experience at key positions.

USC Has Many More Playmakers on Offense

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    There is no team in the country with more playmakers on the offensive side of the ball than the USC Trojans.

    They are explosive and talented at every skill position and have a talented offensive line to go along with it.

    Lane Kiffin has put together some tremendous recruiting classes in recent years and this team may just be the culmination of that class.

USC Can Play a Little Defense Too

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    We all know that LSU probably has the best defense in the nation, but USC can play a little bit on that side of the ball too.

    The Trojans have five senior starters and a lot of experience coming back on defense and the discrepancy between the two teams may not be as big as people think.

    The USC defense is well-equipped and could be a surprise next season for the Trojans.