The 2012 season hasn’t started yet and preseason college football rankings are largely irrelevant, but it’s hard simply shrug off the fact that USC is back at the top of the AP Poll just a few years after being crippled by NCAA sanctions.
When Pete Carroll fled to the NFL and the Trojans were smacked with everything from scholarship restrictions to bowl bans, there were serious doubts regarding whether or not the program would even be able to return to its top-tier status within five years.
It ended up only taking three.
USC finished first in the preseason AP top 25 with 25 of 60 possible first place votes. Alabama and LSU finished second with 17 first-place votes and third with 16 first-place votes, respectively. About two and a half weeks ago, the USA Today coaches’ poll had LSU atop their rankings – but that was prior to the dismissal of Tyrann Mathieu.
Oklahoma and Oregon rounded out the AP’s top five, with the former getting one first-place vote.
Here is how the entire list breaks down:
7. Florida State
9. South Carolina
11. West Virginia
13. Michigan State
16. Virginia Tech
18. Ohio State
19. Oklahoma State
22. Kansas State
24. Boise State