3. USC Trojans
2018 Preseason Ranking
AP 15, Coaches 15
Final Record: 5-7
If you’re USC, you’re not supposed to have a losing record no matter what.
It was as disastrous a season as it gets for a Trojan program that finally won a Pac-12 Championship the year before. There were some key losses – like QB Sam Darnold – but there was more than enough returning to expect another Pac-12 South title.
But instead of taking advantage of the down year in the division, and the league, USC couldn’t get the offense consistently moving, there wasn’t any ground game, and the defense couldn’t pick up the slack.
The 313 points were the fewest scored by the Trojans since 2001.
Worst of all, the team didn’t get any better. It was a rebuilding squad with young players, but it lost five of its last six games, collapsed against Cal, lost to UCLA, and with bowl eligibility on the line, couldn’t come through against Notre Dame.
But it’s USC. It’s going to be okay – even without Kliff Kingsbury as the offensive coordinator.
Last year’s superstar QB recruit JT Daniels should be far more consistent, there’s going to be a running game, and the receiving corps is loaded.
Okay, so the secondary is all but starting over, and losing LB Cameron Smith and DE Christian Rector isn’t a plus, but the pieces overall are there to push for a nine-win season.
No one’s expecting a college football playoff run with road dates at Washington, Notre Dame and Arizona State, and with no cupcake games on the slate to take a week off, but USC should be USC again.
At least, it had better be.