The USC Trojans are ranked No. 8 in the latest edition of the USA TODAY Sports Coaches Poll.
The Trojans handled Stanford, 41-28, on Saturday. They moved to 2-0 on the season, but the journey is only beginning.
Crucially — as Lincoln Riley is surely telling his players — no one should think USC is a legitimate top-10 team right now. It’s simply a situation in which other teams lost and created a vacuum.
If USC is No. 8 two months from now, that would actually mean something.
Fresno State is a tough opponent this Saturday, and that huge Oregon State game is just around the bend in Week 4. USC needs to be 4-0 at the end of September. If the Trojans can do that, we can then begin to talk about bigger goals and dreams. Not yet. Polls really mean nothing right now.
Beyond USC, the Pac-12 had a good weekend with Washington State upsetting Wisconsin on the road in Madison and Oregon State beating Fresno State. There were some negative developments, too: Arizona lost to Mississippi State and Kentucky beat Florida, which hurts Utah’s national profile. The season feels very fluid and uncertain. USC should not feel comfortable at all.
Here is the full poll: