Have USC Trojans Officially Fallen From Elite Status?

By Nick Baker

The USC Trojans dropped a disappointing and humiliating home game to the Washington State Cougars this past Saturday. Making this loss sting even more for the Trojans is the fact that the Cougars won just three games last year and based off their schedule this season may only win one or two more.

Lane Kiffin‘s offense failed to score more than seven points Sunday which led to the home fans chanting “Fire Kiffin.” The USC students are used to cheering for one of the top 25 programs in the country, and it is becoming clearer after seeing their quarterback play that the Trojans are no longer a top 25 team.

The Trojans’ defense did their job by creating three turnovers and holding the Cougars to just 222 total yards and 10 points. It instead was the play of the quarterbacks Cody Kessler and Max Wittek that kept the Trojans from beating the lowly Cougars. The two quarterbacks both saw extensive playing time but combined for 11-for-21 passing for 54 yards and two interceptions.

Wittek nor Kessler were able to take advantage of the Washington State defense that let up 34 points to the Auburn Tigers the previous week. Kiffin wasn’t able to figure out a way to move the ball other than giving it to running back Tre Madden who carried the ball 32 times for 151 yards and no scores. The crucial part of that is the zero touchdowns as the team got within field goal distance three total times and only scored one touchdown.

The other two times they attempted a field goal and missed both, which does take some of the blame away from the quarterbacks and Kiffin. However, even if the Trojans made both of those field goals and won the game, their would still be some serious questions about this offense.

The Trojans underperformed last season, and now that they have started this year off shaky it could be the end of the long-standing elite status of the Trojans football team. The sanctions handed down to the university from the Pete Carroll era are of course impacting the team in a negative way, but Kiffin has also failed to produce with top tier talent which gives him the majority of the blame.

The season is still young, however, so there is no need to declare anything just yet, but looking at the remaining schedule for the Trojans it is possible to predict another solid four wins. Other than those four games they will to need drastically improve their offense to compete in the other seven contests.

The rest of the season will be interesting for the Trojans, but it could also be signaling the end of the dominant Trojan era and with it the end of the Kiffin experiment.

Nick Baker is a contributing writer for Rant Sports and you can follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and add him to your network on Google.

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