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USC just hasn't quite looked right all season.
The USC Trojans come in at No. 11 in the AP Poll and No. 9 in the USA Today Coaches Poll.
The problem with those rankings is that they're due much more to the Trojans' preseason hype than they are their actual play on the field.
The Trojans entered the season as the top team in the AP Poll and at No. 3 in the Coaches Poll. But to this point, USC has failed to live up to those rather lofty expectations.
The Trojans have only suffered one loss (a road game against the No. 22 Stanford Cardinals), but they haven't at all resembled the offensive and defensive juggernaut that they were cracked up to be entering the season.
Even worse, Stanford is the only really good team that USC has played this year. And though they've won their last three games, the Trojans haven't really clicked all season.
After USC's win against Washington, Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times wrote that the Trojans have looked unsettled and too conservative this season. And he's right—they've spent most of this year playing to not lose.
Wide receiver Robert Woods talked about the Trojans' conservative play-calling after the victory against Washington, saying (per the Los Angeles Times):
My take on it is, it was terrible for our offense, with all the weapons we have.
That doesn't exactly sound like a Top 10 team.
If USC had any big wins this season, then things would be a little different. But as it stands now, the Trojans have proven no more than fellow one-loss schools like Florida State or Clemson, or even undefeated schools like 6-0 Mississippi State.
And unlike the Trojans, those schools have (for the most part) looked convincing in their wins. Until USC begins to play up to its talent level, the Trojans simply don't deserve to be this close to the Top 10.