Latest rankings give USC a doable path to playoff, slim and unlikely as it might be


USC’s follow schedule conflicts with the weekly College Football Playoff rankings reveal each Tuesday late within the season. So the Trojans had been on the sector stretching when the most important shock of the week was revealed. Two hours later, the gamers and coaches nonetheless hadn’t been instructed the information by the point they walked off the follow subject: The playoff choice committee jumped USC up six spots, from No. 17 to No. 11.

“Oh for actual? Dang, for actual?” operating again Ronald Jones II stated when he was instructed the information.

He sounded shocked. Then he thought on it and reconsidered.

“It’s not stunning,” he stated. “I really feel like we ought to be there. I did not know that we jumped that far. But that is what’s up. I like that.”

The rankings put USC forward of each two-loss staff besides Auburn, which nonetheless should play Alabama, Georgia and, probably, a Southeastern Conference championship sport. The Trojans rank forward of Big Ten powers Michigan State, Ohio State and Penn State. They rank forward of Washington State, which defeated them in December and in addition has two losses. They aren’t far behind two undefeated groups, Miami and Wisconsin.

Not lengthy after USC gamers like receiver Michael Pittman Jr. conceded that “it’s not really in our future, the playoffs,” the brand new rankings opened a doable path. The path is slim and very unlikely. But doable.

Some gamers, like Jones, wouldn’t have guessed USC would find yourself at No. 11 after they left follow. Others had been extra badured.

Right deal with Chuma Edoga guessed USC’s spot precisely. His predictive powers weren’t highly effective sufficient to divine if USC actually may make the playoff.

“I actually do not know,” he stated. “College football this year has been really unpredictable.”

Quarterback Sam Darnold stated he wasn’t shocked by the rating. He stated USC’s wins have been spectacular, its losses have come to robust groups and it’s starting to string collectively spectacular performances. The playoff, he stated, is behind gamers’ minds — however far again.

“We do have that hope,” Darnold stated. “But on the identical time, we’re targeted on taking it one week at a time.”

The odds stay extraordinarily slim. USC wants plenty of badist and luck. No two-loss staff has made the playoff. Even if every part breaks USC’s means — even when the Big 12 cannibalizes itself, Auburn wreaks havoc within the SEC, Clemson and Miami stumble and Wisconsin loses a sport — one other lower-ranked two-loss staff may soar USC.

And, in fact, USC should additionally win its last two regular-season video games after which win the Pac-12 Conference title.

“It’s nonetheless so early in November and there is so many video games nonetheless to be performed and choices to be made,” coach Clay Helton stated. But, he conceded, “It’s good to be considered that means.”

McGrath held

Kicker Chase McGrath didn’t follow Tuesday due to a groin damage and certain will probably be shut down for your complete week of follow, Helton stated.

McGrath performed via the damage final weekend in opposition to Arizona. He was pulled from kickoffs within the third quarter however continued performing place-kicking duties. Helton stated longer subject targets “might have been an issue.”

“He gave us a great effort on Saturday night,” Helton stated. “He feels good kicking field goals. It’s a little bit more stress when you’re having to do kickoffs.”

Helton stated USC will use punter Reid Budrovich, who stuffed in for McGrath final weekend, on kickoffs Saturday at Colorado.

Quick hits

Tight finish Tyler Petite (sprained shoulder), left deal with Toa Lobendahn (sore knee) and linebackers Connor Murphy (hip pointer) and Uchenna Nwosu (ankle) didn’t follow Tuesday. … Defensive finish Rasheem Green (shoulder) was restricted. … Linebacker Christian Rector (damaged hand) did conditioning work. … Cornerback Iman Marshall (sprained knee) was a restricted participant for the primary time in two weeks and Vavae Malepeai (knee) was a participant for the primary time in every week. … Helton stated linebacker Juliano Falaniko (bruised thigh) “was actually better than I thought he would be.”

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Follow Zach Helfand on Twitter @zhelfand

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