Still No. 1
As everyone expected, USC was voted No. 1 in the preseason AP poll. About the only surprise was Louisville getting one first-place vote.
So what does this mean? Usually absolutely nothing. Except for last year it meant the national championship. USC began 2004 as a preseason No. 1, and without a single loss they held onto to the top spot straight through to the BCS Title Game. Some college football pundits were openly saying that Auburn should have been in the Orange Bowl instead of the Trojans. But as long as USC remained undefeated, they couldn't be dropped down from No. 1, even after the near-loss to Cal. The Trojans obviously proved themselves over Oklahoma.
LAist knows that the AP Poll doesn't actually count in the BCS anymore, but the Coaches' Poll also has USC ranked No. 1, and it's probable that the new Harris Poll will follow suit if USC remains unbeaten.
LAist thinks preseason polls are stupid, but if they must exist, then USC is deservedly inhabiting the top spot. Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush, LenDale White, Dwayne Jarrett, and every other impact player on offense is returning. Norm Chow may be gone, but his system remains, and great programs always have to deal with regular coaching turnover.
It's hard to argue right now that Pete Carroll isn't the best coach in all of college football. For every position there are three all-star recruits right there to play it. The defense may have lost some top players, but does anyone doubt that the young players Carroll has waiting in the wings aren't also going to be stars?
USC Football has exceeded anyone's wildest expectations. And LAist sees little stopping their path to a three-peat.