The sports network polled 37 of its analysts about which teams would make the four-team College Football Playoff -- and 23 predicted the Trojans would be among them.
Reigning national champion Ohio State got 36 votes, Texas Christian 32 and Alabama 17.
USC finished 9-4 last season. The Trojans return eight offensive starters including fifth-year senior quarterback Cody Kessler.
But three of last season's most productive players -- defensive lineman Leonard Williams, receiver Nelson Agholor and tailback Javorius Allen -- declared for the NFL draft despite having a year of eligibility remaining. Receiver George Farmer also declared for the draft.
For the first time in four years, USC signed a full 25-player recruiting class. Rivals and Scout ranked it the top class nationally.
In 2012, the Trojans were ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press preseason poll. They finished 7-6.