USC football tops LA Times national rankings

The Los Angeles Times completed its countdown of the top 25 college football teams in the country on Tuesday, naming USC as its number one ranked squad entering the 2012 season.

Chris Dufresne, Los Angeles Times columnist and rankings author, cited USC’s ability to persevere through sanctions while stockpiling talented recruiting classes and restructuring the athletic department as the reasons for the school’s success. Dufresne noted that although USC tops the ranking, their slow recovery from NCAA penalties and the team’s lack of depth this season and down the road could hinder their success.

The rest of the top five on the ranking are Alabama, followed by Oregon, LSU and Oklahoma. Two other Pac-12 teams were ranked in the top 25: No. 22 Utah and No. 18 Stanford. Utah is unranked in both the AP and USA Today Coaches’ polls while Stanford sits at No. 21 and No. 18 respectively.

The LA Times is not the only news outlet to anoint the Trojans as preseason favorites to play in the BCS National Championship Game. The first AP poll also features USC atop their leaderboard with 25 first place votes. The Trojans enter the season ranked third in the USA Today Coaches’ poll, sitting behind Alabama and LSU. Those results, however, were collected before the dismissal of LSU star cornerback and punt/kick returner Tyrann Mathieu.