USC ranked No. 1 in 2012’s first AP Top 25 Poll
University of Southern California (USC) will enter the college football season ranked No. 1, just two years after they were hit hard by NCAA sanctions.
USC received 25 of 60 possible first-place votes, edging out defending national champion Alabama, who received 17 first-place votes, and LSU, who received 16 first-place votes.
The LSU Tigers were originally expected to begin the season No. 1 before Heisman Trophy finalist Tyrann Mathieu was booted from the team a week ago.
In their first eligible year since the NCAA imposed a two-year bowl ban in 2010, USC are national championship contenders again.
“To be handed down what they said could be a death penalty, could take USC 10 years to come back from, then to have this recognition and be preseason No. 1 is very exciting for our fans because a lot people thought two years ago that this would not be possible for USC,” head coach Lane Kiffin said to the Associated Press.
Despite the bowl ban and scholarship limitations, USC went 18-7 over the past two seasons under Kiffin. Quarterback and Heisman favorite Matt Barkley is back to lead the team, along with talented receivers Robert Woods and Marqise Lee and backs Curtis McNeal and Silas Redd.