ESPN analyst explains why it isn't quite time to buy the USC hype
The Trojans are 5-0 for the first time since 2006. They’re one of only 16 remaining unbeaten teams in college football.
Earlier this week, ESPN’s Bill Connelly set out to rank those 16 teams. He has the Trojans slotted at 10th, just ahead of UCLA but well below where the Trojans are placed in the AP Top 25. Connelly notes that USC ranks 27th in SP+ — his own predictive model and has just a 2.9% chance of going 12-0.
He hasn’t yet bought a ticket for the USC hype train. He offered an explanation for why, while adding that there’s a certain game on Oct. 15 that could change his mind:
They’ve still benefited massively from good fortune in the turnovers department, and they’re 120th in yards allowed per drive. This doesn’t speak to long-term success, but there’s no question that Williams and the offense are proven, steady and exciting.
We’re just two weeks away from one of the most exciting and anticipated (by me, anyway) games of the season and one of the biggest Pac-12 games in years: USC at Utah on Oct. 15. Utah has been in fifth gear after opening the season with an upset loss to Florida, and if the Trojans escape Salt Lake City unbeaten, I’ll officially start buying into the hype.
USC faces Washington State at home this week. Kickoff in that game is set for 4:30 p.m. PT on FOX. Next week, it’ll face the Utes.
After struggling offensively against Oregon State and then sputtering out of the gates against Arizona State, USC isn’t exactly firing on all cylinders right now. Coach Lincoln Riley said after the latest game — what was still a 42-25 win over the Sun Devils — the Trojans still have a number of things they need to improve on.
When you have title aspirations, the margins are slim. USC is good, but it wants to be great.
Here’s who Connelly had ahead of the Trojans:
- Ohio State
- Ole Miss
- Oklahoma State
- Penn State