How quickly things can change.

The preseason AFCA Coaches Poll dropped on Monday. USC will open the new year ranked No. 15 in the poll.

There was quite a bit of speculation about how high the Trojans might climb in the preseason polls after last year’s disappointment. USC had arguably one of the best offseasons of any program in the sport after it lured Lincoln Riley and Caleb Williams away from Oklahoma, Jordan Addison from Pittsburgh, and a host of other talented transfers from around the country.

Riley has said this USC roster will be one of the most unique in the program’s history after all the work that was done turning it over. A new coaching staff and new faces all over the field will look to make this a quick turnaround.

The Trojans’ standing in the preseason coaches poll would seem to signal that Riley’s peers think he can do it.

USC has had a losing record in a season twice since the turn of the century. In 2000, Paul Hackett’s squad went 5-7. Then came Pete Carroll, a coach who would return the Trojans to the top of the sport. In Carroll’s first season, though, USC entered the year unranked. The rest was history.

In 2018, USC went 5-7 and, again, opened the following season unranked in the preseason polls.

After a 4-8 season last year, this USC squad feels much different. In comes Lincoln Riley and a bevy of offensive talent via the transfer portal. The Trojans sit directly above of Pitt—Pat Narduzzi probably loves that—Miami, Texas, and Wake Forest in the Coaches Poll. The Longhorns are the only other team to be ranked in the preseason poll after finishing the 2021 season with a losing record.

The new year kicks off at home on Sept. 3 against Rice. You can see the rest of the preseason poll here. USC was joined by Oregon (No. 12) and Utah (No. 8), with UCLA and Oregon State receiving votes.