Disrespected By Expectations: Preseason Rankings Give USC an Opportunity

Reid BrooksAnalyst IMay 27, 2010

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 01:  Assistant head coach Monte Kiffin on the sidelines during the  USC Trojans spring game on  May 1, 2010 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

I guess when Pete Carroll left everyone in the college football world assumed that the dynasty days for USC were over.

Looking at the roster and the coaching staff, I can't for the life of me figure out why.

USC has the best young quarterback in college football and the potential to make a strong charge into (BCScam) National Championship contention this year again.

The biggest problem for the team last year was defense, and in order to fix that, the team brought in the best defensive coach in the history of football (being Monte Kiffin).

Lane Kiffin may not have a lot of experience as a head coach, but his schemes clearly make good players better, as he has consistently shown the ability to squeeze extra points out of the same machine.

Just look at the point difference his coaching made for Tennessee on average last year.

With that, however, all the experts seem to be putting USC in the mid to late teens for their preseason rankings.

The highest I have seen was from genius prognosticator Phil Steele, whose rankings have yet to be officially released, but he puts USC at number eight.

I mean really everybody? Number eight?

USC goes out and has one bad year after the coaching staff that built the empire disappeared out from under Pete Carroll (a bad year was 9-4) and all of the sudden Troy is lucky to be hanging in the top 25?

This team has continually been projected to be a top three team for the past decade, primarily because every season the team finished in the top three until 2009.

If anybody watched last year, USC was operating with a true freshman quarterback (for the first time ever), which might explain the slight limp on offense, but the USC defense was the problem.

It has even been pointed out by Rick Neuheisel that Pete Carroll left because he had grown tired of defending all of the crazy college offensive schemes. In the NFL, the schemes involve pocket quarterbacks and are far more up front.

So USC brings in the greatest defensive coach ever and no one is expecting drastic and immediate improvement?

I sure as heck am.

I'm more excited about this USC team than I have been about a USC team since 2005.

The kids are working really hard, the coaching staff and pieces are in place, and for the first time in longer than I can remember, this team doesn't have a ton of pressure going into the season.

Lane Kiffin can peel the bulls-eye off of Matt Barkley's back, even though Matt Barkley is far more dangerous this year. So is his surrounding cast.

USC has an opportunity to really prove something in the college football landscape this year by going out and taking control of the Pac-10 again for a continuation of the dynasty.

Lane Kiffin can do it.

But these ridiculously low expectations from the mainstream media are a bit of a breath of fresh air.

Obviously most people aren't paying attention to the crazy viral videos coming out of USC's spring camp. Or to the fact that USC, a very young team last year, just got older.

This is a season to be excited about; it is going to be very fun to be the underdog.

If college football has taught us anything in the past decade, it’s that the preseason underdog wins a lot of national titles.