Everybody starts the year undefeated. But the cruel reality of college football is that only a handful of those teams have a legitimate chance of winning the 2017 College Football Playoff.
Last year, the USC Trojans won their first Rose Bowl since the Pete Carroll era and landed a No. 3 ranking in the season-ending Associated Press poll.
That performance set a high bar for USC, but there are multiple reasons the 2017 Trojans will be able to do even better than last year's squad and earn a spot in the CFP.
(Note: Unless otherwise specified, all of the metrics detailed below are from Power 5 contests, and the associated team and player rankings are from the 65 Power 5 teams.)